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Literature / Laughter in the Dark

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Laughter in the Dark, originally titled Camera Obscura, is a 1932 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Its plot bears a surprising resemblance to that of Lolita, minus the controversial pedophilia elements. Originally in Russian, it was translated by Nabokov himself to English.
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Set in the 1930's film industry, the plot deals with Albus Albinus, a middle-aged art crtic, who cheats on his wife with a younger lady, Margot. Axel Rex, an American cartoonist, falls in love with her, too. As expected for a Nabokov novel, everything that can go wrong does go wrong.

It was made into a movie in 1969.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Ephebophile: Margot is only 17 years old, while Albinus is probably in his late forties. Rex is younger, but still over 18.
  • Love Triangle: It gets messy.
  • The Hero Dies: Like Lolita, but with one key difference. Instead of a fight between the two men, like you'd expect, Margot is the one that kills Albinus.
  • Villain Protagonist: While he's not nearly as bad as Humbert, Albinus is still sort of an asshole, abandoning his wife for a not-even-barely-legal girl, jealous of Rex because Margot prefers him over him, etc.
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