The thing about Lolita is that it’s wonderful. I mean really, truly brilliant. It makes you feel hideously uncomfortable - in a way that only a really great writer could possibly achieve. It’s disturbing and clever and also utterly, utterly beautiful.
I’m not going to go into the controversy that surrounds the book. We all know that it’s about paedophilia, and that many people believe that the only possible way Nabokov could have written so convincingly about the subject is if he had prior experience. Personally, I’d like to believe that’s bullshit; that he’s just an excellent writer capable of convincing his audience of just that. But frankly, I don’t care that much. The writing is what matters to me.
And by god, the writing is glorious. The way Nabokov toys with language is like a cat playing with a mouse that’s already dead - it’s so pliable, so malleable in his hands. And that’s why he succeeds in making the reader so supremely uncomfortable; because he paints Lolita with a lover’s brush. She is so sensually portrayed that you’re drawn in. And then you feel pretty perturbed that you were.
The way he talks about her rubbed off on me, in that I started referring to the very object of the book as a person - as the nymphet herself: “Can you pass me Lolita? Don’t chuck her, she’s delicate!” Dangerous talk.
On the other hand, it was with some relief that I realised I actually didn’t like Lolita the character very much at all. She is a bratty child, spoilt and petulant and all the other things that both her mother and, at various points, Humbert himself complain about. She irritates me, and I’m pretty glad about it.
Final Word: I encourage everyone to fall in love with Lolita. I advise against falling for Lolita.#Lolita #Vladimir Nabokov #reading #books #lit #review