Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day Thirteen

So Many Books, So Little Time is hosting the 30 Day Book Challenge. Each day for 30 day's I'll be answering one question about books.

Day Thirteen: A book that disturbed you

The answer to this question is also, ironically, one of my favorite novels of all time:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was one of those books that I waited forever to read. I had heard good things about it and I had heard bad things about it. I knew the basic premise behind the book and the very notion of it skeeved me out. How the hell was I supposed to enjoy a novel that had subject matter of such a disgusting nature?

I read the book a few summers ago as part of my ongoing attempt at reading the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I was hesitant, of course, and I was pretty sure that I was going to end up hating it. But within the first few paragraphs I became enthralled with the novel. Nabokov wrote this book in English, which is not his native language, and I feel that he has a better command of the language than most native speakers of English.

It was, however, a very disturbing novel. Humbert Humbert, our pedophile protagonist, is one of the most vile characters ever created. I'm not saying that I didn't like him, I'm just saying that I wouldn't want to meet this guy in real life. The most disturbing part about this novel (and I've heard this from both men and women, young and old) is that as you read the novel you begin to sympathize with him. I think that's the reason why Nabokov chose to write this in first person because by getting inside Humbert's twisted little mind you almost begin to understand him and why he does the things he does.

It's been a few years since I've read this book so you may find it here as a reread sometime in the next few months. I'll obviously talk more about it when I eventually review it, but for now I'll say that while this book left me feeling dirty and like I needed to take a scalding hot shower to get all of Humbert's sliminess off of me, I will forever and always consider it one of the greatest novels ever written.


No comments:

Post a Comment