Mystery on the side

I’m listening to another Nabokov novel, and no surprise, it’s great. This one is about a struggling businessman who also seems a bit mentally unstable, running across a vagrant who happens to look exactly like him.

The instant he sees this face, a plan sparks in his mind. You can tell, but, you don’t know what that plan is… and that is the mystery. Not how he is going to do something (he’s going to do it by using a look-alike in some way) but what he is going to do.

Since it’s Nabokov, I automatically suspect that this guy is way less smart than he thinks he is, and also that there is a lot going on between the lines. I’ve not yet discovered much, but it is fun searching for it.

I keep laughing

You know it’s a funny book when just thinking about it throughout the day makes you burst out laughing.

Me trying to describe it would not do justice to its hilarity, you just have to read it yourself. But… something about this kind of character is just so amusing–the just smart enough to think they are a genius guy who is actually not so bright, the delusions of grandeur, the missing of obvious social cues, the massive overestimation of their own importance–it’s just, endlessly entertaining.

And the best part is you are SHOWN all this, instead of being told. You have to see it for yourself, and when you do, it’s like ‘oh my god, this guy!’

Read it, you won’t regret it, even just the first quarter of the book is worth it already.

Obsession

Since the current thing I’m working on has a lot to do with obsession, I was recommended to read Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. I got the audible version and so far am impressed by both the writing and the reading of it (narration by Jeremy Irons).

It’s always been interesting to me how people justify their actions to themselves. Rarely does anyone perceive themselves as a monster or a villain, yet people do monstrous and villainous things every day.

I’m only just at the beginning, and don’t know what terrible acts await, but so far Humbert Humbert comes across as awkwardly pitiable. An ordinary child doing ordinary childish things sends him into an internal frenzy he can barely contain. It’s humorous, in a sinking kind of way, imagining him tensing and sputtering as she sits innocently on his knee. Yet in his own words he paints such a dramatic picture of these events–every turn of her head, every look, every move, is impactful and powerful in his eyes. It’s very similar, actually, to listening to an adult extol the deep and powerful meaning and effect on them, of a child’s cartoon show(you know the one)–in a word: embarrassing.

I’m enjoying it a lot, and just from the start I can already tell why this is near the top of so many ‘best books’ lists. Quite a refreshing breath after my last read.