Via the Nabokv-L Listserv:
Despite its originality, the series does have a recognisable lineage. “Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey were enormous for me as a child,” Handler says, “and when I started doing this, I definitely kept them in mind.” The self-referentiality of the books can be traced back to his love of Vladimir Nabokov. “I was a Nabokov freak,” Handler says wistfully. “There’s something about the way he writes that drags my brain right in.” He says there is something Nabokovian about Lemony Snicket. “He’s an unreliable narrator, he’s distracted by detail and digression until detail and digression become the point of the thing.” Handler has written adult (“that sounds kind of dirty”) novels under his own name, which exhibit a similar playfulness. (The rest over at The Telegraph)
See related Nabokovilia here.