Book: Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Mr. Nabokov in full lepidopterist glory.

Mr. Nabokov in full lepidopterist glory.

My humble attempt at expressing what I love about Nabokov's Lolita and why it's worth reading.

Warning, bold statements ahead: This may reflect badly on me but I think Lolita is the undisputed champ of American literature. I know no one should put that much confidence in any single piece, but I can't help it. I can't see this book failing against any other novel currently known in the English-speaking universe. Neruda runs a close second, but he's a poet and wrote in Spanish. So no contest, Nabokov strikes a flawless fiction victory.

Mr. Nabokov was born in Russia in 1899 and grew up speaking English and French in addition to his mother tongue. Yet he has better control of the English language than the average native speaker (in my experience). The language in his most famous book can stand up against the lascivious plot line. 

My love for this book has nothing to do with heart-shaped sunglasses (on the movie poster), thank you.

My love for this book has nothing to do with heart-shaped sunglasses (on the movie poster), thank you.

I've heard other Nabokov lovers express similar fanaticism. While some people aren't into Lolita at all. I've heard complaints of exhaustion by wordplay. To be honest, I don't fully process the complex brilliant and endless language spirals. I can appreciate the beauty without necessarily fully understanding it consciously (though I may occasionally harbor delusions of grandeur, I am aware of my intellectual limitations). The connections Nabokov makes are intuitive, for this reader at least, with almost every phrase connecting to the next by a common thread I didn't see coming until it was there. (Literary uppercuts are Mr. Nabokov's specialty). He was supposed to have been an synesthetic and somehow I feel it translates when I read this book. My senses are lit with reading words on a page. I feel like this novel is constructed of words in prismatic glass brick blocks - as in the words have multiple meanings, are multi-faceted and when certain sequences are constructed, each word has a new way of dispersing light against the other words. It's just impossible for me not to be in love with this crazy-fascinating, gleaming jewel of a novel. The language in Lolita makes me mentally salivate. I recommend this book to everyone who can read in English. And then I want you to call me so we can talk about it.