by John L. Bowerma

It's easy to think you can judge a man by his fiction. Isn't the creation, at least in some part, the creator? Keeping that question in mind, was there then a part of Vladimir Nabokov that was a monster? How else could he write the infamously famous "Lolita" and bring to life its exquisitely amoral main character Humbert Humbert? Surely only a twisted mind, a depraved heart could conjure up such a fiendish narrator, capable of the kidnapping and ravaging of a young girl, but still seemingly human. He maintains such an odd realism and dark humor that Humbert must have -- must have -- been based on a real man, or at least a slice of the author's psyche.


Amin Maalouf (1949 - )

Lebanese journalist and novelist, whose native language was Arabic but who writes in French. Most of Maalouf's books have a historical setting, and like Umberto Eco, Orhan Pamuk, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Maalouf mixes fascinating historical facts with fantasy and philosophical ideas. In an interview Maalouf has said that his role as a writer is to create "positive myths". Maalouf's works, written with the skill of a master storyteller, offer a sensitive view of the values and attitudes of different cultures in the Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean world.