Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

One thing is certain about this book: readers are not going to be delighted by its plot or characters. They’ll read the novel frowning continually, in a state of dissent. But the morality of the book shouldn’t be the main focus since the author didn’t aim at providing the reader with a moral:

… Lolita has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art … is the norm. There are not many such books. (Nabokov, 358)

Nabokov seems to place himself within Wilde’s aesthetic tradition, so I might as well recall the Irish writer’s very famous words: “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” And, truly, the second thing to be sure about is that Lolita is beautifully written: Russian Nabokov plays with English in a very remarkable way, creating fascinating new words and amusing Carroll-esque puns. His style and language reached a level that can be rarely found among contemporary writers, be they native speakers or not.

I’ll just conclude my very short and inadequate review by recommending this book, if not for its narrative, certainly for its beautiful language. Nowadays, books are mainly judged by their content and their authors are described like prodigy only because they were lucky enough to have a moving story to tell. Nevertheless, most of them have evidently lost the ability to use language to create beauty and convey emotions.

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