Thursday, May 18, 2006


I wasn't going to blog about this because I have a really short attention span and I've already put that horrid book behind me. (It's about thirteen feet behind me under the cabinet in the kitchen garbage, as a matter of fact...)
But I was looking at my response and it hit me that I read Lolita (I even saw the movie) and that story did not revolt me like the one I just read. I had to wonder why. I think it's because the narrator of Lolita was so twisted and sick that you KNEW that he Knew he was doing something wrong. The story ends with Lolita married and pregnant - and living a normal, normal life with someone else - and with Humbert dying in prison for having murdered the man who took Lolita away from him.
Somehow, Lolita remained untouched by the narrator's debauchery and illness. And the author didn't try to sully Lolita, as the author in Turning Angel did to the young characters in his book. In Turning Angel, all the kids were either drug addicts, sex fiends, or saints...
So how did the author of Lolita carry this off? Because he shows that it's sick. He shows the harm and pain the affair causes. He even has the narrator admitting how hateful and monstrous he is - and he Never once tries to justify the sickness.
In Lolita, the sickness is held up like a mirror through the whole book - and the relationship becomes a symbol of good and bad, innocence and debauchery. Turning Angel tries to justify a man of 42 falling in love with and getting a 17 yr. old girl pregnant by having everyone else be the sick ones, (including the poor wfe and exchange student) while the lovers are the normal ones.

Anyhow, this is not a funny post.
I'll try to do better tomorrow when I blog about how inspiring Bush-onomics have been to my life as a multi-billionaire.


barista brat said...

that's an interesting analysis.
i also believe that nabakov was showing how wrong and dirty humbert was, but i also think he did a good job of showing that lolita wasn't a completely naive and innocent - and how the combination of the two characters could lead to disasterous results.

Sam said...

She was not innocent, but at the same time - she was. She seemed to be untouched by everything. He used nymphet all the time to describe her, and nymphs were certainly not, in Greek myths, innocent. They weren't quite human, and yet he never dehumanized his characters. (Nabakov - thanks - I'd completely forgotten the authot's name except that it was Russian, lol.)
Anyhow - I have to agree with your comment.

Kate R said...

Have you read any Beatrice Small? She's got HEAs with that kind of set up. So this Turning Angel -- doesn't the girl ending up dead seem like some kind of punishment for everyone involved? (I cruised over to Amazon to see it)

Kate R said...

oh interesting comments over there: " . . novel which scolds those beautiful young girls for being so seductive and good in bed."
Do you think another commentator has it right to peg it as a kind of a fantasy thing for a middle-aged male writer?

Hell, maybe I should just get thing from the library.

Erin the Innocent said...

This was Mr. Iles's only book that I've had issue with. He has a gift with words really...but the subject of Turning Angel was just something I couldn't handle.

Will I read more of his books? Of course. Like I said, he's an incredible writer. I'll just be more careful...skimming more parts of the book in the store before buying.

Sam said...

Hi Erin
- I'm glad you posted that because I did think he write really well. So this was his little fantasy he had to write out. *sigh*
Like Kate said, it was punishment for all in volved, even the reader.