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Lolita Paperback – Mar 13 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (March 13 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9582701048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679723165
  • ASIN: 0679723161
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.2 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (381 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. Read the first page
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin on Sept. 29 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta." With those famous opening lines, Nabokov begins a sordid tale told by Humbert Humbert, one of the most fascinating characters in all of American literature. Even many people who have never read this novel know the basic story here since the word "Lolita" has become a part of American culture in that that someone with a "Lolita complex" is attracted to very young girls.
Published in 1955, this novel caused a storm of controversy; it is still provocative today even though there is not a four letter word in it. That is not to say that the book is not extremely erotic in many places. What Nabokov does with words is brilliant. As always he plays constant word games with the reader. Someone goes on a "honeymonsoon" to India. In seaching for Dolores aka Lolita and her run-away suitor, Humbert finds the name "Will Brown, Dolores, Colo." in a hotel register. Humbert and Dolores have breakfast in the "township of Soda, pop. 1001." There are allusions to Poe ("in a kingdom by the sea") and other writers throughout the book. You skim paragraphs at your peril.
The book is wondrously satiric. Nabokov captures the vapidness of the motels in small and middle America in the 40's and 50's with great brilliance. Humbert, with all his perversions, is often a terribly funny character as well. The scene where he wrestles with Quilty comes to mind. "We rolled all over the floor, in each other's arms, like two huge helpless children. He was naked and goatish under his robe, and I felt suffocated as he rolled over me. I rolled over him. We rolled over me. They rolled over him. We rolled over us.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kerri on June 13 2004
Format: Paperback
This is unarguably a one-of-a-kind book. It's a difficult read, the language and prose is gorgeous, but can get a bit mundane. In a sense, it is a love story...but Humbert does not actually love Lolita herself, but he loves her for the fact that she resembles his lost childhood love. He never gets to know the REAL inside Lolita, he constantly talks about her nubile and pubescent beauty. He speaks of how she tortures him, but she is just a young girl. Humbert morally corrupts the girl to the point where she sleeps with other men and becomes involved with child pornography. This is the kind of book that weeks after finishing it, you continue to cotemplate it. What makes it readable, despite the distrubing concept, is that Nabavok adds humor, but all of the humor is dark and eerie.
It is a wonderful book, but it's definatly not meant to be read by everyone
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andy Vogt on Sept. 21 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book that, had it been written by somebody else, would have been a lecherous persons kiddy porn handbook. Here, its a masterful telling of a lust story, told by weaving and dodging with keen prose around the subject matter with out ever getting lurid. In fact, several times you wish the author would just get on with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By potato_bug1001 on March 31 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Compels our immediate response and serious reflection-a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors. Intensely lyrical and wildly funny. The only convincing love story of our century.
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By Meagz on June 11 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I truly thought this story was true when I first read it, I was a little disappointed when I realized it was not, however it was still an engaging story. You really see inside the man's head and understand the confusing feelings he has for "Lolita". This is one of my favourite books.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is many things. It is wonderfully beautiful, it is beautifully entrancing, it is entrancingly seductive, it is seductively horrific, it is horrifically sublime. 'Lolita' is about a middle-aged pedophile named Humbert Humbert who falls in love with a twelve-year old girl named Dolores Haze - the Lolita in the title. The story is his confession to the murder of another character at the end of the novel, and focuses primarily on his seduction of Lolita which led to this homicide.

Humbert is skilled with words. He (Nabokov included) uses language to distort a reader's perception of his account. What is most difficult about this psychopath--for that, without question, is what Humbert is--is his self-awareness, accepting that he should be charged and imprisoned for the rape and desiccation of a young girl. It left me questioning how I should classify him. This novel is a psychological profile, and the pedophile is a type that I think most people have a difficult time understanding (I know I do, like most). He is definitely aware and even ashamed of his transgressions, which leads to one of the heart-wrenchingly disturbing qualities of 'Lolita': we sympathize with Humbert.

We are complicit in his crime. But ultimately, readers should read past the beautiful words in the book and see the story for what it is: a misguided love story of a man who never got over his first love.
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By Troy Parfitt TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 23 2014
Format: Paperback
Well, it’s a classic, much discussed, much admired, but I’ll add my two pennies. Wonderful writing; stellar stylistically, each paragraph a work of art. Is this really Nabokov’s second language? you wonder, and he throws in a lot of saucy French just for fun, taking the prose to ever new heights. In terms of style, Lolita is off the charts. The prose is poetic – fluid and original. Page after page, wow, wow, wow. Martin Amis doesn’t list Vladimir Nabokov as a top influence, but Lolita reads like an Amis novel, with less gallow’s humour and more fluidity. The story itself, however, is pretty bloody twisted. The protagonist, Humbert Humbert, is a child molester. I like novels with anti-heroes, ones where you find yourself cheering on or empathising with an ethically bereft protagonist even though you know you shouldn’t. But HH is a whole other type of anti-hero. He’s an enlightened, refined, and eloquent pedophile, and as impressive as his French his, he’s a criminal and admits he should be given 35 years for rape. Lolita’s nightly sobbing is eminently disturbing.

And not much happens in the novel. After Humbert Humbert attains his prize, the novel becomes fictional travel literature (better than most real travel literature!) before switching back to drama (guy loses girl is replaced by child abuser loses victim). There’s a decent ending, but a bit of a cliché one (as Nabokov practically admits), and that’s it – plus a word from the author explaining how everything you’ve probably thought about the novel is meritless; he didn’t mean it like that. He bedevils in the telling, and then bedevils in the explanation. Nabokov plays with you, and you let him because he’s such a good writer, but you cringe, or should, at his honeyed poetry’s horror.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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