Monday, February 14, 2011

Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita

"The main character doesn't give adequate reasons for being a pedophile."

"Prose-wise, this book is absolutely nothing special."

"So pros writing is crap. I don't need every detail of every feeling, every single day. This book had a weak story line and the only reason why I can think that it has been so popular for the last sixty years is because there are a lot of perverts who enjoy hearing about the forty plus year old Humbert Humbert who is molesting a thirteen to eighteen year old. In real life this girl would never have a normal life. She would be ruined and honestly I started skipping around and not even reading all the narrative at about page 188. This was terrible and Nabakov aught to be ashamed. which of course he isn't and he elaborates on his pride in the afterword of this story."

"This book makes me hate all men and Modernity and civilization, and I am still trying to forget I read it. Art, shmart."

"I really thought this was going to be about him adoring little girls in a nostolgic sweet fashion in his old age. I wasn't expecting him to try to live out his lost fantasies of his prepubercent years. I have to say I didn't want to give this thing any stars. Maybe because I'm a mother including 2 little girls that I can't get past the fact that he's a pedophile. I don't care if it's consensual or whatever. It's sick."

"Somewhere mid-way through I began to fold down the corners of the pages instead of using a respectful bookmark."

"To be good, character-driven novels need characters in them that are either (a) interestingly relatable to the reader, (b) uniquely interesting, (c) or both ... For example, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Oskar (from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) is a nine-year-old multilingual, academic, pacifistic, and musical vegan raised in the information age of New York and tragically affected by 9-11; this makes Oskar a character to whom I can relate ... And then, there is Superman who is uniquely interesting in that he is an alien from another planet but also relatable to the reader in that his human life is very average in terms of social status, romantic preferences, and creative achievements; what makes Clark Kent interesting is that he leads an average life even though he has superpowers.


Nobody I know reminds me of the psychopathic narrator or the bratty, apparently seductive, protagonist. As for myself, since I’m (luckily) neither a pedophile nor a nymphet, I cannot in any way relate to Humbert Humbert or Dolores Haze. Hence, for me to have liked 'Lolita' would entail Nabokov’s depiction of characters that are unique."

"Girls want to be Lolita--they hold her up as--if not a role model, then a relatable character or a heroine. A sexually powerful child ahead of her years."

"In the same opening chapters, he refers to something as 'Mc___', also in jest, but I lost the bookmark to where it was and will NOT re-read till I find it. What it made me think of was on the television show 'Friends', when they want to make fun of a characteristic of each other, say when Chandler smokes, Rachel might call him 'Smokey McSmokerson'. So are these funny names, used throughout the show's run, a literary nod to Nabokov? Could they be? I doubt it. But clearly this was written before that show!"

"Instead of Humbert Humbert raping an underage girl, you might as well reanimate Nabokov and have him rape you"

"It's pathetic why some men are perverts, allowed to roam the streets. Lola is the face of every little girl in this country who watches adult television, believing they are mature beyond their years, until they are faced with adult situations, then cry, wishing they could get their childhoods back. All because of bad parenting."

"One has to wonder if a character can be a sick-o and the author not?"

"I read Lolita along time ago and it has always been a taboo for an older man to be with a young girl and always will be. I think the subject matter is something that is not as prevalent in today's society as it once was because of changes in the law to prevent that situation. I think this book was a product of the Beat Generation, who were the precursors to the Hippie Movement, who then turned into the Bob, Ted, Carol, and Alice generation. This generation of people were swingers and did not care how they treated anyone and this book was proof of that abuse that this older generation created. I have a problem with an older generation of people who have disappointed me because became a Conservative Christian at age 20 and was taught right from wrong in the Church. I was also taught to do good things for people, to help persons in need, be self-sacrificing and I learned to be compassionate to people in need and not destructive."

"There was an overuse of polysyllabic words."

"It was just __too__ __bent__! I read it a long time ago and I _don't_ recommend it. He puts you _way_ too far into a perverts mind..."

"In today's society, the author could not write this book without going to jail."

"The book was hard to follow and I honestly felt repulsed the entire 42 pages I unfortunately did read."

"How could anyone think this is a great love story? Am I missing something?"

"Nabokov manages to annoy me as well. I appreciate learning new words from books as much as the next person, but never have I read a book with so many new words ... I don't need this many new words in what is a relatively short book. In context, it is surprisingly easy to imagine other words that could have been used but for some reason, it was decided to wow the audience. I fail to appreciate it."




"too many french phrases"


"His constant use of French phrases is irritating. How many of us speak French?"


"And the single worst thing about it is the way the author throws French phrases into the mix, as well as French sentences, and leaves us almost never understanding what the heck he means.....because he doesn't explain any of them to the reader."


"1.) I'm bored 2.) He uses too many allusions to other novels, so that if you're not well read, this book makes no sense. 3.) Most American readers are not fluent in French, so to have conversations or interjections in French with no translation, is plain dumb. 4.) Did I mention I was bored? 5.) As with another reviewer, I agree, he uses a lot of huge words that just slow a person down."


1 comment:

  1. As Nabokov puts it: "a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss… All the rest is either topical trash or what some call the Literature of Ideas, which very often is topical trash coming in huge blocks of plaster".

    Most of the "bad reviews" you quoted are, directly or indirectly, a disagreement with that statement. For Nabokov, everything is an excuse for an exercise in style. Style, I believe, should be merely at the service of the story. And good characters matter.

    These comments show a difference in taste, and some anger against a novel that seems to advertise itself as an interesting story, and is, instead, a long exercise in prose, about prose, with poor characters (unrealistic, unrelatable, stereotypical) and unengaging developments.

    Note: Sure, the prose itself is often otherworldly.