Tuesday, January 19, 2010


LOLITA was published in 1955 and released in the U.S. in 1958. I cannot stress enough Vladimir Nabokov’s Afterword in fully understanding Lolita. This is probably one of the best, if not the best, books I’ve ever read. The writing style immediately reminded me of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, which also produced shock and disgust while  generating appreciation for its satirical and gory theme.

Patrick Bateman is the protagonist in American Psycho who embodies all that is superficial and materialistic in society.

“I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip.”

Just as in American Psycho, Lolita’s theme is repulsive. And, Humbert Humbert (a name subliminally effective like Dick Diver in Tender Is The Night by Fitzgerald) is the lead in this debauched story. He doesn’t generate any sympathy; albeit, his sociopathic, matter of fact style is married to a morose dark cynical humor that is irresistible to the reader. In discussing Lolita, it’s a feeling akin to when someone says “my wallet is missing” and even though you didn’t take it you feel guilty and must establish your innocence. Just as now, I feel the compulsion of stressing my disapproval of the subject matter of Lolita and was squeamish many times throughout. I also questioned the nature of the author. It didn’t seem possible that someone could write in this kind of narrative style and present a character so real without sharing some components of that character’s personality. This is why Nobokov’s afterword is necessary for the reader. It answers all those nagging questions that come up.

“Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother. In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert's feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.”

The additional component that is extraordinarily impressive is the perfection of Nobotov word usage (especially considering English was a second language to his native Russian). I rescanned many passage just for the sheer beauty of the writing; it literally is poetic! This is why on “Kris’ Rating List” (see below) I have placed Lolita as number one. I welcome other impressions.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Okay, first of all, in looking over my hasty entries lately I have noticed several embarrassing typos and spelling errors! (Blush, blush, wagging foot with down cast gaze). Well I'm out of Maine and in La Jolla, California where it is absolutely gorgeous. I walked along the beach today with my two boys ten and eight and we saw all the seals basking in the sun and they had lots of babies as well (which of course are the cutest things on earth with their big brown eyes!) I can't help but worry for them that they will be shark bait. How horrible!

In my winter travels from Hawaii to Maine to California I have managed to read quite a few books: Howard's End, A Room With A View, A Passage to India (all by Forster), Deliverance (Dickey) and Lolita (Nobotov). There are so many aspects to Lolita that I don't even know where to begin. So that will be for another day. I'd love to hear impressions of Lolita from other bloggers!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


"The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits.  In the thundering froth of that river, in its steep, echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare.  And then, in a moment or horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance."

Deliverance makes you think, how would I handle a situation like this? What compromises would I make? Could I be a hero?
Drew, Lewis, Ed and Bobby are just regular guys.  We all know them or have met people like them.  Drew is that guy you met in college briefly and then happen to run into years later to discover he's just the way you thought he would be.  These fellas are your boss, your brother, your husband.

Do you want to commune with nature, but it's somthing you put on the side burner?
I have too much work....
It's too much energy; I would have to get off the couch.....
There are bugs, and bears and Big Foot.....
I don't have the gear....etc etc etc
And these guys are no different, they want to go but they have their doubts and aren't exactly conditioned for the wilderness like their friend survivalist and bow hunter Lewis.
Although ladden with doubts and lots of complaints, they decide to do a river run in the remote mountains of Georgia. In the beginning, things are good. The men are awakened, enlightened, and Ed experiences a self awareness he doesn't feel back in the city working 9-5 at his advertising business. His friend Lewis is an excellent archer and Ed has become proficient himself. He's looking forward to actually making his first kill (little does he know, his first kill will be another human being).  However, suddenly without warning....things take a decidedly nasty turn as Bobby and Ed, in one of the canoes, happen upon two foul and filthy hillbillies (dueling banjos commence) who are in the mood for romance! As one exclaims, "You ain't going no-where!" Triple YIKES!! And, you can feel the creepy crawlies on that banjo string..... twang!!
This is where my mind went nuts, "Ed shouldn't have said they were alone!" "They definately should have not let the other guy go!" "OMG, what would I do if that was me?"  And so on.......
If you haven't read Deliverance it is an emotional ride for sure and can be read in a day. It really made me question what would I be able to do if a situation warranted killing to survive? Would I be able to act? Or would I freeze and blubber like a baby? Most of us haven't found ourselves alone in the woods with randy hillbillies (Thank God!) but have needed deliverance from other scary situations. I wonder if most of it is innate (survival instinct) or training?? Thoughts?