Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita was the book club selection for August.  It’s another that was on a banned book list–seems to be our year for reading those.  The person who suggested this book was not at the meeting, so I don’t know what his views were after reading it.

In fact, not many were at the meeting at all, summertime vacations and so forth.  Also, in fact, I wasn’t there–

But I did read the book and one other member did——–(!)  The general opinion seemed to be negative, with one person offering “sickening”.

I didn’t want to read this book–published in the 1950’s and still hadn’t read it until the book club selected it.

But I found myself laughing aloud at some early parts.  Humbert Humbert makes us laugh at him and his predicaments despite ourselves.

His descriptions were right on target–the seedy motels and corny names, the roadside diners, endless boring landscapes from car windows as  Humbert and “Dolores” traveled from one end of the US to the other–and back.  Seems like most of the book is spent on this endless road trip.  But the names of the motels and diners–priceless inventiveness.

And Lolita’s teen-aged quips terrific–sassy, humorous, and hurtful to Humbert.

For a predominantly French and Russian language author, Nabokov certainly did his homework to make the language work as an American novel.

Still, it was an uneasy read for me–and difficult to justify the supposed underlying theme of true love–given the depraved circumstances.

Next month’s book will be Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi . . .

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2 Responses to Book Review: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

  1. I have also read ‘Lolita’ recently. Not the most comfortable book to read but I think unreliable narrators are really interesting.

  2. Thanks for your comment—dropped into your site, and will return soon to read more reviews–looks good! One of my very favorite books of all time has an “unreliable narrator”—maybe I’ll review it soon.

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