Why should everyone read a book about a pedophile's obsessive and frankly gross relationship with a little girl? Because if you are a reader — a lover of words, puns, witticisms, metaphors, and allusions — Lolita is a literary masterpiece that can't be passed over in a fit of queasy morality. Humbert Humbert, the novel's unreliable narrator, knows that he's a despicable pervert and yet the reader can't help enjoying him as he surveys post-war America and little Lolita with the droll, cynical eye of a European expat adrift in a tawdry nation, and stuck irrevocably — and irredeemably — in the memory of an adolescent love affair. Please, ignore the critics: Lolita isn't a morality tale and it isn't a love story. It's an unabashed look at a deviant mind written in some of the most deft and beautiful English ever published. Recommended By Rhianna W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Nabokov's notorious erotic murder mystery takes the form of a monologue by his hero, Humbert Humbert, as he attempts to justify his love for and obsession with the barely adolescent Lolita. Humbert Humbert is contrasted with the evil Quilty, who pursues Lolita not out of love but out of lust and selfishness, and who functions as a kind of double for the more pure-hearted (if perverse) Humbert — and whom Humbert must murder in the end.
"The only convincing love story of our century." Vanity Fair
"Intensely lyrical and wildly funny." Time
"[O]ne of the funniest serious novels I have ever read; and the vision of its abominable hero...brings into grotesque relief the cant, the vulgarity, and the hypocritical conventions that pervade the human comedy." Atlantic Monthly
"[S]atire of a very special kind, in which vice or folly is regarded not so much with scorn as with profound dismay and a measure of tragic sympathy." The New Yorker
"Lolita is an authentic work of art which compels our immediate response and serious reflection — a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors." San Francisco Chronicle
"It is a distinguished novel." Graham Greene
"Lolita is a fine book, a distinguished book — all right then — a great book." Dorothy Parker, Esquire
"Passions never burned so feverishly as in this, the great and perverse love story of our times." Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
The most famous and controversial novel from one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century tells the story of Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. - "The only convincing love story of our century." --Vanity Fair
Awe and exhilaration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsession for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
About the Author
Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899. After studying French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, he launched his literary career in Berlin and Paris. In 1940 he moved to the United States, here he achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. Lolita, arguably his most famous novel, was first published, by the Olympia Press, Paris, on September 15, 1955, and became a controversial success. Nabokov died in Montreux Switzerland in 1977.