by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita CoverI have always enjoyed a good pun, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to come across intelligent ones these days, in lieu of the mediocre and insular. I only mention this because Lolita is riddled with them, right down to the titular nymphet’s dolorous haze. One could say that Nabokov was a pundit in the most honest sense of the word.

The story made me quite uncomfortable throughout, but that should really be no surprise if you are aware of the subject matter. I think that the protagonist is largely to be blamed for this. Not only did Nabokov paint a believable picture of a pedophile––leading me to the conclusion that he either held astute insights in psychology or that this portrait came from personal thoughts––but he also made him likeable. Well, let’s just say that he was likeable for the first half of the novel anyway.

I most definitely will recommend Lolita to anyone who can get past the ugliness in premise and plot. What awaits them is a touchstone of modern literature; I only hope I can produce something at least half as good in my lifetime.