Lolita: Eros Between the Covers

by Francine Prose
from LAPHAM’S QUARTERLY

In the spring of 2001, on the final night of an unsettling German book tour during which I had become convinced that evening after evening I was reading to different groups of catatonics bused in from the local mental hospital, I was staying at an appropriately eccentric hotel on a hilltop high above Zurich. The hotel—founded (or so I was told) in the previous century by group of Swiss women’s-temperance health nuts who had arranged matters so that twenty-first-centuryguests still couldn’t get a drink—seemed like the perfect culmination of a Kafkaesque travel experience. It was late. My husband and I were flying home the next morning, and we couldn’t sleep. We flipped through the TV channels, past the badly dubbed Steven Seagal action films and the ultraboring French talk shows, until at last we found an adult station broadcasting from Bavaria that seemed to offer some promise. more

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