Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Kiwie: Haaaaaaai!

Katastrofekat: Yo!

Katastrofekat: So, Lolita then?

Kiwie: Yeah, what did you think about the read?

Katastrofekat: It was an okay book, but it was a bit longer than what I feel it should have been.

Katastrofekat: You?

Kiwie: Agreed, some parts were just too dragged out for my tastes. Like when they were driving around the country and Humbert Humbert (H.H) was basically just listing a lot of places and mentioning a thing here and a thing there. I just skimmed those pages and put the book down for a couple of days before I continued.

Katastrofekat: Same here.

Kiwie Kristine: This is really one of those books that I liked more after I was done and had a think than during. Not that it was bad, it was just tough to get through, not just because of the writing, but also the "romance" between H.H and a girl who is 12 at the start...

Katastrofekat: That is true. Also, I kind of whis we could have gotten to know Lolita  a bit better. She just was around a lot, but I don't think she had that much of a personality

Kiwie: Yeah, but that's the nature of a first-person narrative we only see people through the narrator and he didn't bother getting to know her at all. She liked movies and boys as far as he was concerned. Of course she was broken throughout and possbly hid her personality well.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, how can you not be broken if you grow up with a mother that resents you. No wonder she wanted to be loved, no matter how wrong the romance might have been

Kiwie: Yeah, and what we learn about her when H.H visits her with her new husband is equally disturbing, she really didn't have a chance, unless she got though and just let it happen. She seems a bit emotionally crippled to me, very no-nonsense. She bartered with H.H "I do this and you give me that," so she must have had an end in mind too.

Katastrofekat: She can't have had an easy life, no matter how though she got. I did like who H.H started to lose his mind when they were on their second trip through America. When he saw people following them.

Kiwie: I liked that too, when he was falling apart was great, getting paranoid, making up advanced scemes etc. We know he was in mental health institutions several times during his life and it wasn't until the end he himself truly realised how sick he was. Earlier he'd brush it off as if it was just exhaustion or something, but the really started to lose it when he got paranoid.

Katastrofekat: One thing that really annoyed me was when he narrated the story and suddenly changed to french. I had french for three years and I still didn't understand enough to actually know what he meant by it. I wish he could have stuck to english or at least translated the french in footnotes or something. I felt like I was missing stuff and that was really annoying.

Kiwie: Ugh, the french! I used google translate for some parts, made noe more sense with that... He also threw in some german and latin for good measure. Frustrating!
Kiwie: Well, some of it made sense, but sometimes he used his pet names for Lolita there as well and google translate was all "WTF?"

Katastrofekat: Yeah. Even though I liked the book, I didn't like it quite enough to actually bother with google translate.

Kiwie: I hate feeling left out...

Katastrofekat: Oh, the pet names! Omg, that girl had to many names if you ask me...

Kiwie: Yeah, and he couldn't keep other people straight either! I know he was making up names for them, but dude, stick to the same ones for the same people! He was too meticulous about the other stuff to not be able to do it (as a narrator).

Katastrofekat: In the start of the book I had trouble figuring out who he was talking about, when he called both Lolita and her mother by their last name.

Kiwie: Yeah. Everything was jumbled (and I guess it was so in H.H mind too, but I don't think that's an excuse for overdoing it Nabokov!)
Kiwie Kristine: H.H is an pretentious ass and that made it hard to read too sometimes. All those french philosophers and what nots.

Katastrofekat: Yes! That's excatly what he was. The story he told us was very interesting and disturbing at the same time, but I had a hard time relating to him at all.

Kiwie: I did a little research (okay, wikipedia) and there is apparently an annotated version that explains stuff (especially references to other things and I'm sure I only picked up on the Poe related ones...). I think that would have been more fun to read, this isn't exactly the kind of story that drags you into it anyway, the interruption would probalby be welcome. The story is interesting, and I loved how it started out as a defence of his actions and ended up as a confession of his sins instead. That is brilliant story-telling and perfect use of the first-person!

Katastrofekat: Yeah, I think I would have liked to read that version as well, as I felt kind of stupid at times while reading, since there obviously was stuff I was missing out on. I agree, the story-telling was good and this book wouldn't have worked as well if it wasn't written in the first-person. I'm glad to have read it, as I now will be able to get Lolita references but it won't be a book I will be in a hurry to read again.

Kiwie: Nothing is more annoying than when you know you don't get it. It's like banging your head against a wall. I won't re-read either I think. I do have a penchant for unlikeable main characters, but not the perverted ones. Tip of the hat to Nabokov though, he wrote a pretty good and unredeemable guy, who I think appears to be a good example of the pervert (as shown in the media at least), only with a different narrative. Nabokov gets a lot of it right, but also makes H.H annoying and in fact as childish as the child he abuses sometimes makes the novels somewhat annoying as well.

Katastrofekat: That's right, Nabokov wrote this book very well. Also, This is a main character I'm actually glad not to be able to relate to, if you know what I mean.

Kiwie: Haha, yeah, I'd be pretty disturbed at myself if I read it an thoguht "hey, that H.H's on to something!"

Katastrofekat: Ai, that would be pretty bad!

Kiwie: This could be a book peple get suspected pervs to read and go "so what did you think?" and if they liked H.H: lock em up!

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