Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

This was a nightmare of a read. I’ve been postponing this read for ever so long, and now I feel perhaps I should have postponed the read forever! But what’s done is done; I can’t undo my reading. I’ll have to live with the knowledge that in Lolita, I read the most odious story I’ve ever come across in my reading life.

If you are familiar with the story either through reading or watching the film starring Jeremy Irons, you would understand when I say that reading the book (listening rather) was a harrowing experience. I often felt nauseated. I mean, how could you listen to a psychopath’s defence of a sexual crime, an account of the justification of a child’s deprived childhood? Humbert Humbert is nothing but a paedophile. And my complete disgust for the character secured zero enjoyment.

On a positive note, however, Nabokov writes well. He is a genius with his words. Ironically, it is his brilliant writing that makes us cringe in horror. The book holds a respectable position in many lists of all-time greatest fiction, which means it’s an important work. And I also learned that Nabokov was inspired by a true event to create this story. But the controversial subject matter was more than I could stomach. It may hold a great place in classical literature, and while I hold my peace on that point, I must say it was the most stressful book I’ve ever read.

This is a subjective review and those who have enjoyed it need not offend by my feelings towards the book. I’m truly happy for those strong ones who could see the beauty of the work beyond the vile Humbert Humbert.

Before winding up, one word must be said about the audiobook which I listened to. It was read by Jeremy Irons (one of my favourite actors by the way ) who did a great job narrating it. It was because I did audio, that I could see through to the end. Had I read it, I should certainly have given it up.

Rating: 2/5

About the author

Piyangie Jay Ediriwickrema is an Attorney-at-Law by profession. Her devotion to literature has taken shape in reading and reviewing books of various genres set in different periods of time. She dabs at a little poetry and fiction of her own and hopes to share her work with the readers in the future.