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It is a tragic love story, a paean to America, a sordid tale humanized, a work of comic genius. Most of all it is Nabokov's writing: artfully crafted the book is a delight to read (and re-read - as is necessary to uncover some of its secrets).
What happens in the book is terrible - and its focus, which is, after all, around a man of about forty engaging in sexual relations with a barely pubescent girl, is particularly nasty, but Nabokov humanizes his characters, and though what Humbert does is unforgivable the reader is entranced by the story. It is a peculiar thing that Nabokov has wrought here, but it is brilliant. Few novels are both as sad and as amusing as this one, with Nabokov mixing and managing both tragedy and comedy perfectly.