The Girl Booker

The Girl Booker

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not THAT Sort of Girl

When I first read Lolita, over 10 years ago, I loved it so much that I declared it to be my favourite book.  I added it to my Classics Club list because I was curious to see whether or not I'd still feel the same way about it almost a decade and a half later.

The verdict is in: I don't. I had a lot of fun re-reading Lolita  and I think it's fantastic. I still appreciate all the things I originally loved about it but I'm after a different reading experience these days. Lolita is a book of tricks and games. The sounds of the language and the rhythm of the words are truly brilliant. It's like every word is edible, delicious, delectable.

What Lolita lacks, however, is a sense of purpose beyond the play. As Nabokov explains in his afterword, there isn't supposed to be one, but that didn't stop me wanting it. I think the book could have been truly spectacular if Nabokov had decided to add yet another layer to it. At times I grew a little tired of the trickery and wanted something I could ponder, or something I could feel besides wry appreciation.

Tampa has been touted as the new Lolita. The only thing they have in common is that the narrator is a paedophile. Which might sound striking if you haven't read them, but in an odd way, this is almost irrelevant. I could go on a big discussion comparing them but the more I think about it, the more they are trying to do completely different things as works of literature. So I will conclude by saying that I liked them both for totally different reasons, and I'm not sure I could say which I preferred.

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