I've just finished Lolita, which is just as good as everyone says it is, and thought I'd jot down this comment from Nabokov's afterword (not because it reflects my own opinion, but simply because it's interesting and I want to think about it some more):
For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.
Anyway, now I'm keen to watch both film versions – especially the Kubrik one (which I don't think I've seen before) – by way of comparison. To my mind, the novel is a very slippery story and Humbert Humbert's narrative is so densely layered with delusion and subjectivity, I'm dying to see how Kubrik adapted it. I remember the Lyne version as slightly annoying – though that was before I'd read the book, and frankly, Jeremy Irons just irritates me. So I'm now prepared to give it another go.
BTW, I had to take a break half way through the novel (at precisely the point where Humbert was about to sleep with Lolita for the first time); it's a very enjoyable read, but also very disturbing and dark. By then, the disconnect between Humbert's self-obsessed and narcissistic account and the ghastly reality of what he was doing to the people around him had become too much. I needed to take a breather (by reading some nice relaxing nonfiction). Of course, once I summoned up the courage to continue, I was thoroughly hooked. What a book…!
And while I'm on the subject – how about that hysterically funny 'Lolita' scene in Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers? Lord, I laughed so hard it hurt!