Vladimir Nabokov

Book cover

Read this for the Mark Holden book club. Somehow I had managed to get to age 24 without having read it. It is a singularly weird book, and I’m definitely glad to have read it. It’s a very engaging read, but at the same time I had trouble reading it in some of the early parts because of my strong feeling of disgust for the narrator. Oddly enough, it wasn’t really the pedophilia at all that was bothering me, just his utter disregard of other human beings and his willingness to treat every other person as a tool (or his inability to treat them otherwise). Nabokov sort of mitigates this in the very last parts of the book, but frankly I didn’t buy it. I know Nabokov is very interested in Don Quixote (wrote lectures on it, and even uses the nonsense name “Don Quix” at one point in Lolita), and I picked up on a lot of similarity, especially in terms of the main character’s abrupt change of heart at the end, though in other ways as well. I am looking forward to discussing this with Mark et al. (sad I missed the first discussion), and almost wishing I were back in school so I could write a paper comparing it to Quixote.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars