Actress Sue Lyon eats a lollipop as Dolores “Lolita” Haze in a scene from Lolita, the 1962 film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel. Nabokov made sumptuous use of food in his writing, and the acoustic affinity between Lolita and lollipops is no coincidence.
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As a master of the eccentric metaphor, the great Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov used food to fine effect in his writing.
There was, for instance, that one word he used to capture the texture, tinge and luster of his watery green eyes — “oysterous.” And that icky image in Lolita, of motel floors burnished with the “golden-brown glaze of fried-chicken bones,” that somehow made those shiny floors complicit in the squalor of pedophilia.
But when it came to eating, he really couldn’t be bothered.
Nabokov’s paradoxical relationship with food — his sumptuous use of it as a writer and his serene indifference to it as an eater — is vividly apparent in the recently published Letters to Véra, a collection of the missives he wrote to his beloved wife over 50-odd years. Almost every letter in this enchanting and mischievous collection is a passionate love letter addressed to his darling Moth…