Books I didn't like · Books that have film Adaptations · Russian Literature.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

A still from the 1997 adaptation, starring Jeremy Irons.
A still from the 1997 adaptation, starring Jeremy Irons

This book took me forever to read, but at last I am done!

Lolita has entered into the public mind due to its plot – a much older man has a sexual relationship with a ‘nymphet’, a very young girl. He becomes obsessed by her, and ends up marrying her mother just so he can get to the girl. Of course, the mother dies but, he gets to the girl. I’m not a prude. But I can see why this book caused so much controversy. If you want a blow-by-blow account of a man slavering over his young stepdaughter, then this is your book.

As well as realizing what a puerile book this was, I also realized how little I cared for the characters. While Humbert Humbert slavered over Lolita and other nymphets, Lolita herself is little more than a cardboard cutout because she is just his vessel to further his own ends. My interest waned near the end and the death of the Quilty chap didn’t really interest me. And Humbert’s status as an unreliable narrator failed to make me sympathize or even understand him as he tried to justify his sexual interest in Lolita.

That being said, there were a few moments of dark humour, and you have to give Nabokov a tiny bit of credit to the fact that English wasn’t his first language. Two positives don’t outweigh the many negatives this book possesses. If you really want to read some Russian lit, then go for something better like Dostoyevsky, Chekhov or even Tolstoy. Because their works of fantastic literature are better than this trash.

MY RATING: * / *****

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