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**Lolita Group Read

2013 Category Challenge

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Jan 1, 2013, 6:50pm Top

Well, I've got a copy from the library and I'm going to crack it open. Since it's a classic and pretty much everyone knows what it's about, we could probably keep this to one thread. So, let the reading begin!

Jan 1, 2013, 7:54pm Top

I read Lolita in 2011 and it made a big impression on me though I really can't say I liked it at all. I just couldn't get past the basic premise and my hatred of the narrator. I'll be following along in the discussion to see what you all think.

Jan 1, 2013, 9:08pm Top

My library copy should be here in a couple of days. Looking forward to participating in my first LT group read!

Jan 1, 2013, 11:13pm Top

Oh good grief.... I think I signed up for this, and then completely forgot. I will join the group read if the copy I placed a on hold just now comes up in the next two weeks.

Jan 2, 2013, 4:44am Top

I read it last year, but I'm in for the group read since I bought The Annotated Lolita to be able to grasp all Nabokov's nuances, especially all the French tossed out. Hadn't been planning to read it so soon, but hey, why not! :P

Jan 2, 2013, 11:14am Top

I started it last week, but have not made fast progress. My initial reaction was "ick" and feeling that I needed a shower. But I'm far from giving up.

Jan 2, 2013, 11:16am Top

I have my copy, although it will be a few days before I start. I've run into two schools of thought on this book, one telling me I should read it, if only for the language and the other telling me not to waste my time on misogynistic crap. It's the kind of book that divides people and so I have to find out for myself. Generally, I will read anything if it's written beautifully and also have a fondness for the Bechdel test. I'm curious to see what I'll think.

Jan 2, 2013, 11:20am Top

#7 I suspect it will fail the Bechdel test.

Jan 2, 2013, 1:06pm Top

I will either get a library copy or buy one for my new Kindle when it comes in the next few days. I've decided to read it in tandem with Reading Lolita in Tehran

Jan 2, 2013, 1:17pm Top

I am waiting on a library copy. I had it out in late November and read that first section but was so busy with other books and things that I did not start the second section. I have very mixed feelings about the book so far. Sometimes I think the best books are not the ones we like the most but the ones we remember well after an extended period of time and can still churn the emotions we felt while reading it. Will this be one of those books? I am not sure yet.

Jan 2, 2013, 4:33pm Top

I've already read Reading Lolita in Tehran but I might reread it after I finish Lolita. Of all the books to share with the oppressed women in Iran, why this one?

I like reading early in the morning when it is quiet and this morning I got a lot done. I've made it through more than half of the book. Luckily my elementary French helps me understand most of the French lines. This guy is really a creep. Is anyone finding any likeable, respectable aspects of Humbert?I don't find honesty in his writing, only bragging. He shares details of his life to illustrate his intelligence and thoroughness in planning is pathologically detailed.

Jan 2, 2013, 5:04pm Top

Misogynistic? Really? I didn't get that at all. Yes, it's a rough subject matter, but that's the whole point. Nabokov pushes the envelope and he writes about something terrible, in such a way that he actually makes you want to feel bad for the character who you utterly despise. It's a fabulous piece of work.

Jan 2, 2013, 6:25pm Top

I never felt bad for Humbert, in fact, I felt manipulated by him. He was trying to make it all Lolilta's fault for leading him on or being too sexy and you have to keep reminding yourself that Lolilta is a child when he starts molesting her.

Yes, I think it's brilliantly written, but I found nothing redeeming in Humbert and couldn't get past that.

Jan 2, 2013, 6:47pm Top

He most certainly helped to shape her into what she was, and she was a child who endured some really horrible stuff, so there's excuses for her behavior; but even still, she was a terrible girl, the way she acted. And while it was completely wrong, he did have very strong feelings for her in the only way that he really knew how (pedophilia is a mental illness, not a choice). Nabokov used/twisted those things to make him seem more like the "victim" even though he's really the one causing the problems to begin with. It takes some very skillful writing to accomplish this, and the fact that he did it makes people even more uncomfortable with the book. Fabulously done.

Jan 2, 2013, 11:17pm Top

I read it some time ago, and have not decided yet whether I want to re-read it now or not; I'll definitely be keeping an eye on the thread here :)

I think I mainly agree with many things that have been said already; it is a great novel, written very well, but unsettling because of the subject. In a way Nabokov does write to make you feel sorry for Humbert, but I agree that Humbert is a creep.

I think in the end the relationship is just twisted, not just from Humbert's side, but also from Lolita's side. It becomes somewhat abusive on both sides, and at the same time they are so dependant on each other in an unhealthy way.

Hmmm... I think maybe I'll join after all, rethinking the novel I'm becoming intrigued again :P

Jan 3, 2013, 10:13am Top

Yeah I read this one in 2011 and I will be following the thread but will not and will never re-read this book ever again. Im with sjmccreary I just felt like I needed a shower afterward to get all the ickness off. This is just a very hard subject matter. I just wanted to pimp slap Humbert.

Jan 4, 2013, 3:12pm Top

I've finished the book.

Good points - Nabokov certainly had a way with words. It made me think about Joseph Conrad, another author whose first language was not English, and who had a vocabulary that exceeded many English speaking authors. I admired his way of using words and expressions that tip toed back and forth between beauty and filth. I never for a minute forgot how physically attractive Lo was or how ugly she was inside (thanks to Humbert) and how pure his love was even though it was totally sordid. They traveled through spectacular parts of the country and stayed in seedy motels.

Bad points - I've read other books about psychopaths (Silence of the Lambs, for instance) and grew a grudging respect for the characters but never found anything I liked about Humbert. He used his intelligence and education for totally vile ends. He stole something from this child that could never be returned.

I read the afterword written by Nabokov which tried to explain why he wrote this book and continued to push it even after being turned down by one publisher after another. I still don't understand how a man, seemingly a decent family man that like to hunt butterflies, could create such a despicable character.

My final observation - I can cross this book off my list of books I should read and I'm so glad I never have to read it again. Ever.

Jan 4, 2013, 3:19pm Top

To clarify, Humbert is not at all a "psychopath." He is a pedophile, plain and simple. It's a mental disorder which people have a very very very difficult time controlling. It does not at all make it excusable for them to harm children, but it's not as though they think about it rationally. This is why the laws forbid them from being anywhere near children, because the temptation is too great.

I don't see how Nabokov's personality has anything to do with it. Do you think the authors of the aforementioned "psychopath" novels are insane or bad people?

Jan 4, 2013, 5:21pm Top

Definition of psychopath from Dictionary.com:
a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc.

Humbert Humbert -
Amoral? - check
antisocial? - check
lack of ability to love? - obsess, yes. love, no. check
extreme egocentricity? - check
failure to learn from experience? - check

Of course I don't believe that authors of books about horrible people are themselves horrible. I just always find it surprising that an author can create, build, live with such a character and remain untouched by the ickiness. The average reader can read the book, close the cover, return the book to the shelf or the library and walk away but the author lives in the character's head, looking at the world through his eyes, thinking his thoughts, communicating with his voice for years. It is remarkable if the author is untouched by this relationship.

I wonder, with all of the spinoffs of classics written - has anyone tried to write the story from Lo's POV?

Jan 4, 2013, 5:26pm Top

He has those issues because of his pedophilia. You can fit all sorts of definitions to all sorts of things if you shove things in there, but it doesn't make them actually true.

Jan 4, 2013, 6:36pm Top

I love that a real discussion is taking place. I think this book is challenging my view that I would read anything as long as it was really well written.

Jan 5, 2013, 12:19am Top

I agree that Humbert has psychopathic character traits, but I would hesitate to call him a psychopath. In the commonly established practice of psychology/neurology psychopathy is used to describe a very specific type of person, who not only displays the type of behaviors mentioned by mamzel, but also displays a tendency to hurt others which I do not find back in Humbert (yes, he harms Lolita, but not in the way I mean, if you get what I'm saying). So, yes, pedophile (definitely), and yes, some of the traits of psychpathy, but no, I don't think he is a psychopath. His idea is not to hurt Lolita, and he doesn't behave the way he does because he wishes to do so.

Also, I really did like the novel when I read it. Though like might not really be the right term... I mean, I really think it is a great novel, very well executed and a great story, and I will re-read it (maybe this month, maybe in the future). Sure, the subject matter isn't very enticing, but I don't think that takes away from Nabokov's skills as an author. I've read novels about unpleasant subjects before, but this is one of those novels that I can't help but 'liking', respecting, even though I don't like the subject-matter, nor any of the characters in it.

Jan 5, 2013, 5:31am Top

>22 Britt84: Exactly. And I really think it is a great novel, very well executed and a great story, and I will re-read it (maybe this month, maybe in the future). Sure, the subject matter isn't very enticing, but I don't think that takes away from Nabokov's skills as an author. I've read novels about unpleasant subjects before, but this is one of those novels that I can't help but 'liking', respecting, even though I don't like the subject-matter, nor any of the characters in it, very well said. I love this book. I don't love what it's about, what it's about is utterly disturbing. But the piece of work is amazing. I love what Nabokov was able to do with it and it is so very easy to see why this is such a classic. It frustrates me when people can't move past their distaste of the subject matter to see what's really there.

Jan 5, 2013, 11:07am Top

I've got a library copy; so now to begin.

Jan 5, 2013, 11:44am Top

I started last night and I'm up to Chapter 6. The writing is superb. It's clear that Humbert, somewhere in his mind, knows that he's done something very wrong, as the information he provides the reader is a drawn-out explanation for what has happened in his life to bring him to this point. He seems to be trying to connect the dots for the reader, to make it seem like he couldn't have acted in any other way.

Edited: Jan 6, 2013, 4:20pm Top

Polymathic Monkey - Thanks for setting me straight on the definition of psychosis. My degree isn't in psychiatry so maybe I should have studied a little before making such a diagnosis. I made the mistake of thinking that the extreme planning and executing that Humbert performs to obtain access and then dragging Dolores around the States for two years went a little beyond the definition of pedophilia. Mea culpa!

Edited: Jan 6, 2013, 4:59pm Top

Just to stir the broth a little bit:

Leaving aside the subject matter, I'm finding on this third reading that Nabokov as an author isn't really to my taste. I'm using the annotated edition this time, and I see V.N.'s love of interior, extremely obscure references and jokes to be, well, a bit off-putting. There's quite a bit of material from the author himself, and his attitude appears to be extremely condescending, to put it as mildly as I can. I don't like this sort of attitude from an author. Of course, he may be one of those authors who wrote books for himself and damn the rest, but I usually don't like those books either.

That being said, I still enjoy reading the book, even without all the obscure allusions, cross-references to other of the author's works, etc. There's just something quite compelling about the story and the character.

Jan 8, 2013, 5:55am Top

Just started this last night, I'm not very far in, but so far the author is creating a very interesting character. The has certainly capture the mindset of Humbert quite well, while it's disturbing, I also find that the story is pulling me. There was a great passage on pg 17 (of the 50th anniversary ed.) which really showed the reader what goes on in his mind.

I also wouldn't call him a psychopath nor does he have a psychosis. He does have a form of mental illness, but not psychosis.

This looks to be a book, that I'm going to like even if I hate the disturbing things the character does/thinks.

I have to say though, this book will take me longer to read, because how the author has written it. Not a book to read when one is tired either, the passages and style of writing are very complex.

Jan 8, 2013, 9:09am Top

>28 bookwormjules: Yep, exactly. It's so perfectly written you can't help but like it, even while you're being squicked out by it.

Jan 8, 2013, 9:25am Top

It is beautifully written. The descriptions are so perfectly drawn. And I hate this guy. He's full of himself. I suspect that he's not as good looking as he thinks he is.

Jan 8, 2013, 11:58am Top

I'm on Chapter 13 now and I really am surprised at how sick Humbert is, with his romanticized vision of himself and his constant predatory thoughts. I did assume that because it was written in the 50's that it would be a hands-off view of the subject, if that makes sense, but Nabokov's understanding of the pedophile mind seems startlingly modern. His description of what is known now as "grooming" is chilling.
I would guess that Nabokov's incentive for writing such a character was to create someone who could try (unsuccessfully) to gain empathy from the reader for his horrible actions by explaining his reasoning. Killer confessions aren't that original, but this is.

Jan 10, 2013, 7:56am Top

The writing is lovely, and doesn't get in the way of the story. Nabokov could show off more, but he's intent on telling the story and not demonstrating his skill. I do notice turns of phrase and pitch perfect descriptions, but they aren't there to show off. I'm reading another book which is about how clever the author is, which really makes this obvious.

As for Humbert, he's not supposed to be the hero of the story. And I'm finding the way Nabokov presents him as less repugnant than the way many thriller writers present their serial killers. Think of how Thomas Harris presents Hannibal Lechter as classier and smarter than the stupid people he tortures. Humbert is getting away with things (so far) because no one is looking at him.

Jan 10, 2013, 1:45pm Top

This is worth a look - a contest to design a good cover for Lolita.


Jan 10, 2013, 2:03pm Top

I've finished the book. While I still think Nabokov's style too self-referential for my taste--but I might not feel that way if I didn't have the annotated edition; in this case there certainly is too much information--and I'll be extremely interested in others' views of HH after they finish.

Additionally, some parts of this book are really, really, funny.

Jan 10, 2013, 3:18pm Top

>32 RidgewayGirl: No, I understand that Humbert isn't meant to be a hero, and that was my point- the antagonist as narrator is usually a murderer and Nabokov was doing something different from that.

It's amazing how fluent Nabokov was in English, as it must have been his third language at least, but there's no stiffness that's usually present when a language has been studied. He uses it with ease, and I also find Humbert's bitterness funny.

Jan 10, 2013, 3:59pm Top

>35 mstrust: He actually felt that he wasn't very good with English, that it didn't flow as naturally to him, if you can believe that! lol. I think that's why he put so much French into Humbert, there were things he just didn't feel he could express right in English, so it was an added an aspect of the character, too.

Jan 11, 2013, 6:03am Top

QUOTE: 32 - "As for Humbert, he's not supposed to be the hero of the story. And I'm finding the way Nabokov presents him as less repugnant than the way many thriller writers present their serial killers. Think of how Thomas Harris presents Hannibal Lechter as classier and smarter than the stupid people he tortures. Humbert is getting away with things (so far) because no one is looking at him."

I was also thinking of Hannibal Lechter when reading this. And excellent point you made there. I was thinking something similar as well.

Jan 11, 2013, 9:44pm Top

I've just finished. That was both brilliant and disturbing.

Jan 11, 2013, 11:24pm Top

I just finished as well and I concur. It was disturbing in that I actually found myself cheering him on at times (until I stopped to think about what I was cheering for). Felt more than a little 'icky' after that. But the writing was brilliant. Who else could write about such a repugnant man and make me alternate between sympathy and disgust (often in the same sentence!)

I don't see him as a psychopath at all. A psychopath would just rape for the sake of raping - enjoy the violence of the act but not care about the victim at all. Humbert cares about her and doesn't see what he is doing as rape. In fact, he seems somewhat surprised when she fights back like he can't understand why she isn't happy with this wonderful gift he has given her. She uses that term but he speaks about caresses and gentle kisses. He obviously understands that his actions are wrong (which is why he tries to hide them) but he seems to think that he is doing her a huge favour by loving her and caring for her.

Jan 12, 2013, 2:56am Top

>39 Yells: Yes yes yes, to everything you said! lol.

Jan 12, 2013, 7:13pm Top

Humbert's no psychopath, but he is extraordinarily self-involved. It's all about him. Yes, we only get to see what's happening from his point of view, but every event, every emotion is evaluated only as it applies to him. Lolita's not a person to him, he never cares what she's feeling, unless her despair threatens to pull down the illusion that this is a grand romance.

I've posted a review on my thread. Short, but my thoughts about this book are all over the place. Really, really brilliant. I'll be rereading this in a few years. I suspect there is a ton more there to discover. I'll also read his other novels.

Jan 12, 2013, 10:51pm Top

About 25 chapters in. Humbert lives in a world of his own, his thought process is completely out there in left field, yet he talks of things such as murder, as simple as making a cup of tea. When he is swimming in the lake is an example of this.

I've yet to get to the bad parts, it's been an interesting read. Although a hard one. Because of who he is and what's to come, I find it difficult to read for long periods of times.

Jan 13, 2013, 3:15pm Top

I've just finished and agree with thoughts of both bucketyell and RidgewayGirl. Humbert was like a vulture circling the girl. I half expected to see him shackle her as punishment for talking to other kids, something he would see as protecting her.
I don't want to say much more because others are still reading, other than Nabokov is an extraordinary writer.

Jan 13, 2013, 6:05pm Top

Lots and lots of layers here: a weird story about a weird man; a book with brilliant writing all over the place: descriptions, comic scenes, realistic dialogue, amazing inside views of different characters. Obviously one can't like, respect, or admire HH, but at least this reader, at the end, just felt an enormous pity for him; as RidgewayGirl says, he's almost completely self-involved. Yet in his quite sick way, he did love her and regret what he had done--to her. Fascinating book.

Edited: Jan 14, 2013, 4:23am Top

>31 mstrust:. I'm not sure if what you're saying is that as the book is from the 50s you expected something different; but it reminded me that here in the UK we are unravelling a sex abuse scandal involving a celebrity - Jimmy Savile 'These {allegations} covered a period spanning four decades, from 1959 until the 1980s,' and one of the things I've heard people say about it was that "well, it was a different time" - as if to say it was more acceptable to be sexist/racist/ prey on young girls 'back then' because people weren't aware that these things were NOT okay

>42 bookwormjules:. I'm up to the swimming at the lake/thoughts of murder part (although I am re-reading this, but it's been some time since my last read...)

Jan 14, 2013, 6:00am Top

>45 wonderlake: re 31, I think she was saying that back then, well for instance on TV husbands & wives didn't even sleep in the same beds!, that was too "risqué" for public consumption. *eyeroll* So to write openly & explicitly about a child sexual predator, not something one would really expect. But he was turned down a lot before anyone had the guts to publish it, too, so I wouldn't expect something too whitewashed, heh. I think what people mean about it being a "different time" is that those things weren't acknowledged to even happen at all. Everything "taboo" was just swept under the rug. It wasn't that people thought it was okay, but they turned a blind eye and a willful ignorance to its existance rather than admit, even to themselves, that such terrible things actually happened.

Edited: Jan 14, 2013, 10:55am Top

I just finished last night and there are few better examples of the power of words. The book Lolita is everything from disgusting for its content, superb for its writing style to hilarious for its bits of comedy. At times I found the book was a little too wordy or rambling but then I realised that the book was Humbert's view on everything. It is all his memory of events so can we even trust it. I am not sure I liked any character in the book and for some reason I had it in for Lolitas mother for being so useless at protecting Lolita and for falling for Humbert. It was only at the end of the book that I realised I was only getting Humbert's side of the story and of course he was going to make her out in a negative light.

For anyone who has finished the book you have to go back and read the forward. It only makes sense at the end. I won't say more than that

Jan 14, 2013, 10:38am Top

I did that -- but I never read forwards or introductions until the end of the book, anyway. Too often the introduction has either put me off reading the book or it presupposes that the reader is already familiar with the book and won't mind spoilers.

I'm sorry to have finished it, actually. I miss it. I've been roaming the internet reading articles and essays about Nabokov and Lolita. A fair number of people are obsessed with this book.

Jan 14, 2013, 11:39am Top

> 46 Yes, you explained what I meant very well. I was surprised by the explicit writing, which would have been rare in those days unless something was meant for the "men's market", which is where you'd find the sex and violence.

>45 wonderlake: I have read a bit about the Savile scandal, and it's pretty clear that many people saw things but said nothing because people truly didn't talk about things like that then. And famous people didn't do those things. I remember as recently as the '70's people could beat the tar out of their children in public and the attitude was for everyone to look away and pretend it wasn't happening. Getting involved with other people's problems is a pretty new concept, and in the book we see how different the times were about asking uncomfortable questions:
Especially when Lolita is in the hospital. Whether Lolita has told her anything or not, the nurse senses something about Humbert, but she doesn't have the police check him out. Nowadays a psychiatrist would be sent in to question Lolita about her situation.

Jan 14, 2013, 11:49am Top

And thankfully the educational attitudes of the Beardsley school are a thing of the past. Although Nabokov was engaging in a little hyperbole, going to school for one's M.R.S. was a thing.

Jan 14, 2013, 9:07pm Top

I just got a paperback copy of Lolita through Bookmooch and it's a hoot! It's from the 1960's and it's packaged to make the book look as lurid as possible. I wonder what people looking for cheap thrills thought when they encounter Nabakov's elegant prose?

Jan 15, 2013, 12:26pm Top

I've started re-reading it; beautiful, the language is just amazing...
One thing that strikes me upon re-reading is that in the first chapters, Humbert is in a way making it out like it's (partly) the fault of the young girls. You know how sometimes in rape cases rapists argue that women who dress provocatively or act a certain way are asking for it? Seems like Humbert sort of feels like that as well: the young girls that are 'nymphets' are just too attractive. He tries to fight it, but he just can't help himself.

In a way, I do sort of feel sorry for him (and all pedophiles, I guess). I mean, obviously it's wrong to want a young girl sexually, but what if you just can't help feeling that way? Not saying that that makes it alright or anything, but yeah, the first chapters definitely try to get sympathy for Humbert.

Jan 15, 2013, 12:36pm Top

I didn't feel any pity for him -- he had enough self-pity to cover things. It was, I think, the first book I have read with an unsympathetic protagonist where I wanted the protagonist to be caught, and soon. I think it was Nabokov getting Humbert to admit every so often that he could see Lolita's despair. He was fully aware of destroying another human being, however he tried desperately to convince himself otherwise.

Jan 15, 2013, 12:49pm Top

I think that is one of the reasons why I couldnt even get past the subject matter to see if I actually liked the writting or not. The first couple of chapters just enraged me.

Jan 15, 2013, 2:47pm Top

>53 RidgewayGirl: Well, last time I read Lolita I definitely didn't feel sorry for Humbert by the time I finished the novel, and I mainly remember him as a very unpleasant, unsympathetic character. So, I'm sure I'll grow to dislike him again as the story progresses. I just didn't really remember anymore how the first chapters try to establish him as a sympathetic character...
The novel is supposed to be Humbert's memoires though, so I guess it makes sense that he himself would try to make himself seem like less of a horrible person. Still, he seems ok at first, though he is interested in young girls he initially doesn't give in to those feelings, which is of course the right thing to do.
I do agree that him trying to justify his actions doesn't make his later actions right, I just think that in those first chapters Nabokov is doing a good job in trying to make Humbert sympathetic.

I think it's sort of hard to really look at the novel in a more objective way because it's so well known and we all know that Humbert will be abusing a young girl later on, so it's hard to read the beginning of the novel without judging Humbert already, based on his later actions. I sometimes wonder with novels like this one how I would have liked them, how I would have felt about them, had I read them without any prior knowledge of the plot. And of course it's impossible to find out, but really, I wonder if it would have been different...

Jan 15, 2013, 3:00pm Top

I felt that Nabokov was trying to make the reader see just how manipulative a child molester is. He manipulates the reader (the equivalent of manipulating friends, family, and colleagues) into thinking none of this is his fault and he's really a nice guy. He obviously manipulates Lolita, and in a way he's manipulating himself into seeing justification for his actions. It's sick. Yet how it's written is brilliant at the same time.

Jan 15, 2013, 3:03pm Top

I will say that I liked that he didn't keep her mother's money from Lo. That was, at least, a decent action.

Jan 22, 2013, 11:52am Top

I only have 100 pages left and have been conflicted so far on this book. Ick factor aside, there has been so beautiful writing, but most recently, my main reaction has been boredom which I never expected to feel while reading this book. Enough with the scenery descriptions and the endless whining already. I'm hanging in there to find out how it all ends.

Jan 22, 2013, 1:03pm Top

58. Well, he tells you from very early on how it ends... ;)

Jan 22, 2013, 1:33pm Top

Not quite though, Paws. I had one assumption as to why a lawyer would ask him to write everything down that turned out not to be the case. But I had to hold on to that assumption in order to keep myself reading.

Jan 22, 2013, 1:41pm Top

I haven't finished the book yet so I'm not sure how it ends but *SPOILERWARNING* in case some one is less far along than I.

He does talk directly to "honoured members of the jury" on several occations less than halfway into the book so I'm (perhaps wrongly, I guess I'll find out) that there is a trial of some sort going on.

Edited: Jan 22, 2013, 1:45pm Top

I have a vague understanding for how it will end, but I find myself in chapter 28 of part 2 -- nearly finished -- and wanting to know the rest of the story. **possible spoiler** This is Humbert's book, but what is Lolita doing? Is she safe?

Jan 22, 2013, 1:51pm Top

Paws, I won't spoil it for you. Tell me what you think when you finish.

Jan 22, 2013, 2:25pm Top

Agreed that the constant driving around section is a bit slow, but it passes, just keep reading!

Jan 22, 2013, 4:47pm Top

There was certainly a slowdown which I also found a little hard. Get to the end then go back to the beginning (the forward especially) and you end up with the whole story.

Jan 27, 2013, 2:59pm Top

>65 fmgee: - I'm so glad you said to go back and reread the prologue - it really added a little something to the story.

Jan 27, 2013, 6:32pm Top

I finally got a copy of this book. My library which is normally helpful only has one copy of the audio CDs and they have been "in transit" for over three weeks. Ugh! I finally got a Kindle copy. At chapter six. This guy is creepy but he is so annoying! I'll comment again when I've finished.

Jan 27, 2013, 8:09pm Top

I look forward to seeing what you think.

Jan 28, 2013, 6:05am Top

I also have about 100 pages left n the book and also thought the driving around bit was boring and started to lose me as a reader. Even now I'm kind of bored with the book, I wish the story would carry on already, it seems to be dragging out as he rambles on.

Jan 28, 2013, 1:36pm Top

I found the endless travel exhausting too, though I was never bored with the story. I think the constant driving with just the two of them in the car built a claustrophobic atmosphere. At least for Humbert, it was very much "the two of us against the world".

Jan 28, 2013, 4:47pm Top

Finished this today. For me the most affecting scene was where ... spoiler

... Humbert goes and sees Lolita when she's pregnant and he begs her to come back into his life, even though she is no longer his nymphet. (Although earlier on in the book he did muse on the possibilty of getting to molest a girl-child of Lolita's when she attains nymphet age...) For Lolita their time together seemed to mean nothing, but Humbert still loves her- in his horrible, smothering jealous way of loving. All-consuming.

Yes the road-trip section bored me too. Humbert sure does love the sound of his own voice. Two pages of descriptions of motels etc, seemed to drag, but what about poor Lolita being dragged around these places? Taken away from everything she knows, after her mother has DIED, and Humbert complains that he has to make every single day have some lame 'highlight', cajoling her along: the state's biggest ball o'twine

> 70. I disagree a little with "the two of us against the world"- Humbert never viewed Lolita as his equal (no 'Bonnie & Clyde'), she was his accomplice because he told her nightmare tales of reform schools to keep her in line. Better the devil you know ?

Jan 28, 2013, 5:43pm Top

>71 wonderlake: Oh, I think Humbert very much saw her as an equal in regards to their "relationship", even if he knew that if they were caught she would have the upper hand. He refused to recognize that Lolita didn't love him, which is where that crawling and pleading aspect of his "love" came from- the need to entertain her with the ball of twine or the caverns, and the eventual move to allow her an education and friends. Humbert saw himself as being as much Lolita's captive as she was his and he was trying to make their relationship work with these compromises.

Jan 29, 2013, 4:00am Top

>72 mstrust: I totally agree with your post.

Jan 29, 2013, 9:48pm Top

I don't know, I guess I can see that, but it seems that he was so self-absorbed that I doubt he really thought about her views at all. It seemed to be all about him. He was genuinely befuddled when things didn't work out the way he thought they should.

Jan 29, 2013, 10:30pm Top

#74 Yes, I think you're right. Maybe at some level he was aware of her unwillingness, but mostly he was only concerned about his own desires. She wasn't a person to be considered. She was an object to be exploited.

Jan 30, 2013, 12:07pm Top

I am kind of mixed. At times he seemed to be so focused on himself that he saw Lolita as an object to be exploited. But then, other times he is in awe of the 'power' she had over him. The world is full of nymphettes but only certain ones have the power to draw him in. He seems rather perplexed at times as to why this power exists and what it means.

Jan 30, 2013, 12:22pm Top

I think he was fully aware of what he was doing -- he makes so many comments to that effect throughout the book -- but he was very good at focussing on himself. He is a fundamentally selfish person. He saw her despair; it was just less important than his own desires and his need to perceive the situation as a love affair.

Jan 31, 2013, 9:47pm Top

Okay I am halfway through the book and I'm taking a break from it. I really wanted this book early in January but the library did not cooperate. Fantasy February starts tomorrow and I have quite a few fun reads ahead of me. Self absorbed Humbert will have to wait.

So far my thoughts are apart from creepy he is just so full of himself and poor Lo is not very likable either. I don't think that is going to change the second half of the book but I do want to see it through.

Thank you for the group read. I enjoyed everyones viewpoints. I will post my final thought (brief) when I finish the book.

Feb 2, 2013, 2:06pm Top

I just finished (only a day late). I have to say the book wasn't as "bad" as I thought it would be. The way it is always challenged, and been banned or attempted to be banned, I'd expected something very different than what I got from the book, not that it was a bad thing, but still I find the hype over the content of the book, a little over dramatic.

That set aside, it was a good read, I didn't love it, and I began too lose interest near the end of Humbert's narrative. (Oddly enough in the fifty anniversary edition, there's an afterword from the author who talk about publishers and readers of the book before it was published, and touched on this). But, besides the fact the plot started to drag on near the end, I found it to be a good read - and I'll be hunting down more books by Nabokov in the future. I'll have a full review soonish.

Mar 14, 2013, 10:51pm Top

I agreed with the publisher that declined it because the middle section was too long! Once you get past this the last section wraps up better. Both HH & Lo are unsympathetic, but Nabokov is a talented writer. I would like to read something else by him.

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