Nobokov’s classic, Lolita, is certainly not for the faint of heart – and that’s not just in reference to the subject matter, but also to the writing style. Nobokov’s style is unique, sometimes masking his meanings in complicated humours metaphors, to the point where you may actually miss something, like a joke falling on deaf ears. However, this does not in any way detract from the reading – it means simply that, when read a second or third or even fourth time, the reader will pick up on little plot intricacies or jokes that were not apparent previously.
Of course, the subject matter is deliciously taboo – an older man and an underage girl, his ‘Lolita’; Dolores Haze is a devilsome child tempting Humbert like children of her type do (known as ‘Nymphets’), in a way that only some possess. If you have seen the movie, prepare yourself for an extra shock. In the film Lolita is 14 years of age, but in the book, she’s only 12. This may upset some readers, so caution is warranted.
However, Lolita is very much in the comedy genre, and I must admit there were times in the book where I had to re-read a few paragraphs because I couldn’t believe just how amusing some of the humour was. It’s funny, vulgar, insane, and perverse – but nevertheless genius writing. Humbert is a very unique character, real to the point where you almost wonder if Nobokov is writing autobiographically.