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Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov, Craig Raine After finishing the book, I utterly hate Humbert. I found this to be a very challenging book in that I utterly hated the subject matter for the most part of the book. I hated Humbert and hated what he was doing. I didn’t like Delores much either. Actually, in thinking back over the book, I don’t think there was a single character I liked. It was very difficult for me to get into the book for the most part as I found it to be quite distasteful.
On the other hand, I don’t know when I have ever read anything so well written. Nabokov was clearly a literary genius. I will in the future I am sure, read more Nabokov, preferably ones that aren’t from the POV of a pedophile. I was particularly taken by the surreal nature of the final fight scene between Humbert and Quilty, and the events that followed leading to Humbert’s capture.
For me, Lolita was a tale of two books. There was the best of books (Lolita’s escape from Humbert and the paranoid and often surreal events that followed). And there was the worst of books (the first road trip, which left me cringing and avoiding this book like that obnoxious and drunken relative at the Christmas party who is always telling embarrassing stories about you as a kid whenever you get to within a mile and a half of him and who seems to have, rather than an adjustable volume setting to his voice, a simple switch consisting of the choices “off” and “way too Goddamned loud”.)
Lolita is a brilliantly written book which I will, I suspect, never fully appreciate because I am simply too disturbed by the subject matter. I understand that this is my problem and not Nabokov’s. He did his job with this novel; in fact perhaps he did his job too well for my comfort.
I am rating this book as 5/5. I know that sounds odd when you look at what I have written about it above but it is utterly brilliantly written and it very much accomplishes what I believe the author was attempting to do; make the reader very uncomfortable. Bravo Mr. Nabokov. I don't think I'll ever read this again.