15 March 2016

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Pages: 378
Genre: Classic, Romance
Book Description:
Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.

My Opinion:
This well known classic, follows the story of 37 year old Humbert and his love for a 12 year old. From reviews I have seen, this seems to be a very controversial topic since it's about pedophilia, however there is the idea of true love as well.

I found the novel to be very well written. I liked Nabokov's descriptions, from setting the scene to how he felt about Lolita, in which were some of the most powerful descriptions I have ever come across. Despite the underlying concept that what the protagonist is doing is pedophilia, I really believed that he loved her and he writes in a way that makes the audience feel sorry for him.

Similarly I liked the concept that this story was actually being written while Humbert was in jail. This was something I forgot as I was reading but there were times when this was referenced again. I thought this technique to be really unusual as it was like a story in a story.

Although I really enjoyed this book overall, I did find it to be quite slow at some points, as many classics are. I struggled with this but persevered due to the interesting scenes following and the ending!

The ending had to be my favourite part. I loved the realisation that Humbert experienced in that his love for Lolita wasn't just temporary in that when she excelled out of her 'nymphet' stage it would be over, but that actually this love was eternal. Along with her rejection of him multiple times, the ending felt so tragic and I actually had sympathy for him!

Overall I found this to be a really interesting read. By the end of the book I came to the conclusion that Humbert's love for Lolita was sincere, however this was only something he realised when it was too late and when she had decided to reject him for the final time. Although seducing an under age female is an offense, it was a unique take on the concept which I believe is one of the many reasons it's still talked about and read today. Despite some of the perhaps 'disturbing' scenes and slow parts, this is definitely worth the read!

Favourite Quotes:

It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight


Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins


She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita


Perhaps, somewhere, some day, at a less miserable time, we may see each other again

4 out of 5 stars 

 Next book I'm going to review:
The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks

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