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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
If reading excellent writing is the goal, there are enough books in the Western canon alone to entertain, challenge, move, and enlighten you for a lifetime. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
So after hearing so much complains, praise and condemnation for this book, I picked up during sale and gave it a go. Read morePublished 6 days ago by TDR
English is my second language so I might have missed a lot of writing techniques that the author had applied to this book. Read morePublished 9 days ago by harrislam
People often mistake Lolita for an erotic book or a love story, but it is a harrowing and beautifully written tale of just the opposite.Published 10 days ago by Margaret B. Hoover
"Lolita" -- what a masterpiece! Having just read it for the third (or is it my fourth?) time, the book's brilliance continues to thrill and amaze this reader. Read morePublished 12 days ago by wjhnyc
It is affected both grammatically & artistically. Didn't bother to finish.Published 18 days ago by Helene G Martin
How can you love a book that is so dark? However, the prose, the characters draw you on. You could discuss it forever.Published 21 days ago by Judith N. Alger