I've read Lolita several times. It is written from the point of view of a pedophile but it is not sympathetic to him at all. In fact this literary technique allows him to reveal himself as the disgusting predator and destroyer of lives he actually is through his own words and thoughts. This is one of the most misunderstood books ever written.

[–] SecondSkin 5 points Edited


Pale Fire is a much better novel and example of an unreliable narrator. But Lotita is precise and to the point. Peadophile’s romanticise and justify what they do to children. Lolita is packed full of this, every comment is dripping in detail- he’ll describe her as so mature and seductive, but within the same comments there’s a descriptor of her childlikeness, like scrapped knees, bubble gum stuck everywhere, poor hygiene and so on. Every comment used to justify it too himself contains clues that the reality isn’t what he’s telling the reader. And Nabokov chooses the subject that the whole world should know is an obvious liar, and still fools any reader on the first page. It’s a bit like the trend for novels with liar in the title currently. Yet the plot twist comes when the lies are revealed, because the reader has already forgotten this is an unreliable narrator, who they were told was a liar on the cover.

The irony that the whole world sees Lolita as the seductress feels like Nabokov revealing the worlds insanity, from beyond the grave.

I loved Pale Fire too. Nabakov is one of my favorite authors and yes, it pains me to see his work so misunderstood and misinterpreted in modern film adaptations.

[–] SecondSkin 2 points Edited

Pnin is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. He is a remarkable author that’s true, but I’m not sold it’s necessarily misunderstood, so much as the point of the book is showing us the unreliable narrators and predators in our midst. I think most people believe others are essentially good, but I don’t think that’s true. I think decent people are the minority, and I think Nabokov thought so also, so he uses the unreliable narrator to open others eyes to that. Because only the people who have nefarious intent will view the peadophile as a romantic figure and the child victim as a knowing seductress. I always think the irony feels a bit like how Shelley’s Frankenstein is the exploration of how women are judged or valued by what they create, in comparison to men’s value being viewed as independent from the worth of their work. And how every Halloween everyone terms Frankenstein’s monster Frankenstein proves her central point; that a woman’s identity and worth is based purely on the worth of her creation (whether work, children, home or marriage). I feel like the many who don’t see through the unreliable narrator of HH is Nabakov’s way of removing the masks of most people, in the same sort of way, or removing the rose tints so we will see people as they really are. If that makes sense.

[–] Justpeacheee [OP] uterus having 1 points

It amazes me now in so many ways. I was involved in a relationship at 20 with a much much older man. It was entirely like my experience. He wanted a sexy young girl who is devoted. Problem is, my pre frontal cortex wasn't developed enough for the "adult relationship." He was always sick and tired of my childish antics, not realizing I was too immature for his perception.

Eventually, romance turned into parenting. Then romance was still involved and confused me. Why was I a sex object but yelled at as well? Being treated as a "real adult" by a real adult confused me. I tried to be mature, but my brain couldn't understand the complexity.

Thank you for posting!

I thought the Lolita podcast was quite good. It explores all the different iterations of the novel and its impact on the girls/women who played Lolita, Lolita pop culture, the truth of Lolita etc. https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1119-lolita-73899842/

[–] Justpeacheee [OP] uterus having 1 points

oh wow, I've just started getting into podcasts. Thank you! Ill add it on in

I have been meaning to read the book for a long time, but couldn't yet get myself to read a book about a pedophile. While I know that the protagonist isn't always a good person, I just don't think I would enjoy having to follow the despicable actions of a pedo full time.

Having heard that Rowling might have learnt something about storytelling from Nabokov, I now feel very tempted, but still haven't gotten around to it.

The analysis of the 1997 film sounds like it's a good film. I have never seen it discussed from this point of view (i.e. that Lolitas childishness annoys the pedo).

[–] SecondSkin 3 points Edited

I first read it as child, after being a victim of csa, without knowing what it was about. Then again at uni.

Initially it seems that he’s portrayed as this sweet, affable sort, as if the reader will be expected to sympathise with him. But quickly the many clues are there that there’s zero intention for the reader to sympathise with him. The point is to show how conniving and manipulative he is, how insidious. I feel like the reader is supposed to reach the end triumphant that we can see straight through him. Clearer and ready to never fall prey to his manipulation of the narrative.

The book is meant as a riddle, all plays on words, never ending references to doppelgängers/doubles/shadow, even Nabokov puts his own anagram in there. The enjoyment of the book is seeing through the riddle, unpicking the gas lighting the reader has been subjected to by HH. Knowledge is power type of end feeling, like once it’s seen can never be unseen type of thing. Revealing the truth that was always there all along right in front of our eyes.