Saturday, October 28, 2006

From July 2004:

Usually when I see a movie (I know I'm supposed to say "film" but that bugs me, so there.) I walk out of it thinking of what I would have done differently-- lines I would have written differently, scenes I would have cut or added, secondary storylines that didn't make sense, etc. The only time ever I've walked out of a movie and thought, "I wouldn't change a thing," was "American Beauty," which justly won so many awards a few years back. It was perfect-- perfectly written, perfectly filmed, perfectly acted. But I hated it. I hated watching it. It was like watching a nightmare. I've never seen it again, and although I sometimes think about re-viewing it out of curiosity, I've just never had the stamina to do it.

That rather long, somewhat pretentious lead-in was all to say: that is exactly how I feel about reading Lolita. As a work of art, it is gorgeous. Beautiful. (Well, OK, minus the boring part in the middle of Part Two.) You could pick it apart endlessly and still find more layers of connections and symmetries and humanity. But it is horrible to read. It's the story of a childhood destroyed. The ornate, overwrought writing style which drives you crazy at various different points in the novel turns out to be exactly the right vehicle for conveying this guy's persona. The last few chapters are brilliant, when you know he knows, but he also knows he couldn't have done it any differently, in fact, he still would do the same thing over again if he had the chance. THere's no sign at all that Nabokov was a child molester, how did he get so thoroughly into this guy's mind? How did he so perfectly recreate it? I'm awestruck, but I'll never read it again.

So now I'm halfway through the section of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" where she discusses Nabokov. It is fascinating. More later, or maybe not. This is probably horrendously boring to read. Off to la familia in an alternate state (of mind).

Aunt BeaN

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