I have a copy of Lolita – a solid honest to goodness paper copy, not an eBook. I bought it new, so I can have it hanging around, because I love it. I’m not just saying that in the way that some people say they love James Joyce’s Ulysses, so I can say I love a complicated monster of a book. I’m not saying it’s my favorite – the way some people have a favorite animal. I’m not saying it’s the best book of all time, a life-changing experience (so is going to prison), or some other sweeping statement. It’s more a combination of elements (language, content, author choices, style) that come together to give you everything you’ve ever wanted. Completely subjective.
To name one thing: I like Nabokov’s sense of humor. It’s there in the words, the feel of someone having a lot of fun. Have you ever hung around people when they love what they do? It’s bliss.
Coming to the point – it blows my mind a little to know someone rejected this. I would love to have had a hand in publishing Lolita. The closest I hope to come to greatness is probably reflected greatness – standing next to someone great, and hoping it rubs off. Sad, I know. This publisher had a chance to be associated with Lolita…and declined. A little mind blowing.
Another sad story: here’s U2’s rejection letter. You can find more letters here.