Monday, February 7, 2011

100 Greatest Books #98 - Lolita

The next book on my travels through the 100 Greatest Books lists is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. You can find this on the Norwegian, Observer, and Zane's lists.



This was a rather odd book for me. At first I thought the book would never, ever, make it on to my Must Read List because of the semi-pornographic nature of the book. But it was worse than that, it made me feel awkward because it is all about a man who has sexual interest in pre-pubescent girls (around the age of 12-14). So all the while I am reading this I feel like I am going to get in trouble for child pornography. By once you get past the initial portion of the book things got really interesting. The second half of the book I found to be far the better half. It focused more on the mental anguish of the main character as he pursues his Lolita, both knowing that he has and will destroy her life, but also not being able to control himself. It is a perfect view into self-destructive behavior. The main plot point of the story is similar to another book I had read, An American Tragedy, which focused on a person in jail and you basically found out how he ended up there. But there is a difference in Lolita, where the story is a first person narrative of basically how he ended up in jail. And throughout the story you assume how he ended there but as you progress you realize you were wrong and it really is for something different. The story was actually rather riveting in this aspect and I did enjoy the second half of the story immensely. So, all in all, I can't recommend this story due to the awkward feeling first half (which is almost impossible to get through for several people) but I did enjoy it and would recommend it for those who could get past that point.

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