Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Review: Lolita

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov

Published in 1955
Pages: 331

Setting: mainly USA; there is quite a bit of travel involved, so it's hard to make it more specific

Genre: Classic Literature

Rating: 2 of 5 stars

I had quite high expectations for this book because it is listed both on the 1001 books you need to read before you die list and on Bloom's Western Canon. Both usually include high-quality literature and so far I've at least liked or seen something good about every book I've read from the lists. Not so this time.

This was one of the few books I read in the last year (I actually read it this year, but the new year is still fresh enough that this statement has more meaning when I take my reading experiences of last year into account as well) where I struggled with finishing it. It started very slow, didn't manage to capture me and even repulsed me. I didn't really feel the need to go on or even to finish this book. I eventually did finish it, because I'm bad at not-finishing books. Once I started a book I usually finish it. Otherwise I couldn't really give an educated opinion about it. But the fact that I finished this doesn't make it a good book.

The main character Humbert Humbert is a pedophile who "falls in love" with his landlady's minor daughter. He knows that he is sick and that what he is doing is wrong but he does it nonetheless. Reading about him (the book is actually written from his point-of-view) made me feel sick.

I have to give Nabokov his due in saying that I really liked the writing style and his way of expressing things. I could even have gotten around to seeing some merit in it should it have supposed to be a cautioning example. However, Nabokov said in the afterword explicitly that the book was not thought to have a "meaning" in the sense how it is taught in literature classes. If I accept his statement for truth I have to wonder why he wrote this book.

This is one of the few pieces of "literature" that I can't recommend to anybody else for reading and I'll things twice before I read another work by Nabokov. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

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