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Playfully perverse in form as well as content, riddled with puns and literary allusions, Nabokov's 1955 novel is a hymn to the Russian-born author's delight in his adopted language. Indeed, readers who want to probe all of its allusive nooks and crannies will need to consult the annotated edition. Lolita is undoubtedly, brazenly erotic, but the eroticism springs less from the "frail honey-hued shoulders ... the silky supple bare back" of little Lo than it does from the wantonly gorgeous prose that Humbert uses to recount his forbidden passion:
She was musical and apple-sweet ... Lola the bobby-soxer, devouring her immemorial fruit, singing through its juice ... and every movement she made, every shuffle and ripple, helped me to conceal and to improve the secret system of tactile correspondence between beast and beauty--between my gagged, bursting beast and the beauty of her dimpled body in its innocent cotton frock.Much has been made of Lolita as metaphor, perhaps because the love affair at its heart is so troubling. Humbert represents the formal, educated Old World of Europe, while Lolita is America: ripening, beautiful, but not too bright and a little vulgar. Nabokov delights in exploring the intercourse between these cultures, and the passages where Humbert describes the suburbs and strip malls and motels of postwar America are filled with both attraction and repulsion, "those restaurants where the holy spirit of Huncan Dines had descended upon the cute paper napkins and cottage-cheese-crested salads." Yet however tempting the novel's symbolism may be, its chief delight--and power--lies in the character of Humbert Humbert. He, at least as he tells it, is no seedy skulker, no twisted destroyer of innocence. Instead, Nabokov's celebrated mouthpiece is erudite and witty, even at his most depraved. Humbert can't help it--linguistic jouissance is as important to him as the satisfaction of his arrested libido. --Simon Leake
Nabokov has such a beautiful writing style that the story and its characters were always with me.
Hard for people to accept the fact that this is more than a story about a young girl and an older man, but this is a love story, and a very strong one at that.
Reading the book, you really get a feel for his obsession and it almost makes you feel a little dirty.
Soaking in Nabokov's mastery of the English language, I was smitten off my feet by his wit and exuberance. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Folger
May be the theme of this novel was scandalous and tabu at the time it was written. I found this novel boring,and repetitious. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Artstu
This is one of the best written books I've ever read. Nabokov's English is magical. Considering he was Russian but wrote this in English puts other writers to shame. Read morePublished 17 days ago by CaroBee
Admirable use of language. Great vocabulary and an onion plot - layers within layers. Incest and paedophilia, being such hot topics of the day, certainly affected the marketing of... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Christopher Geeves
OK folks, many of you who know me and my work will say, "What, has she gone completely crazy???" Well, yes...in a way. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Laura P. Schulman
A masterpiece. This book is the best English prose I've ever read, even compared to his other English novels. His first novels for many years were written in Russian. Read morePublished 18 days ago by sashatagger
Lolita. The sassy, sometimes funny and carefree girl who never grew in the eyes of Humbert. Masterpiece Nabokov sounds like a Symphony dedicated to forbidden love. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Griffin Garcon