Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov

Published: 1958 in US
Read: 2010
Genre: Fiction
Setting: US late 40's - 60's
Rating: Subject (1); Writing (5)
List: 1,001 books, Francine Prose, Thomas Foster
Review: Goodreads

While I hated the subject matter - very creepy, abhorrent, criminally and morally wrong, the writing is beautiful.  It is a study of a person with an obsession.  He knows it is ungodly but can’t help himself.  Could this be how anyone with an obsession feel (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex).  Applied in a broader context?   The struggle, fight, deceit, challenge to feed the desire without destroying self?  The writing is beautiful, tortured, descriptive.  Enables the reader to walk in HH’s shoes and feel, unbelievably, sympathetic to him.  Although felt “dirty” reading so read quickly.

Story Synopsis

Humbert Humbert has a thing for young girls.  He watches them, fantasizes about them all the while knowing it is wrong.  It cannot be helped.  He falls hopelessly in love with Delores Haze, the 12 year old nymphet daughter of his landlady.  He marries her to stay close to his Lo, Lola or Lolita.  She finds his diary and realizes where his true affections lay.  She runs out of the house in horror and ends up getting hit by a car and killed.  HH was actually thinking of doing the dastardly deed himself (drowning) but didn’t have the guts to do it.

He is now able to take Lolita around the country - trying to keep her adolescent brain engaged going to various places, while acting out his most vivid fantasies with her in whatever motel/hotel room they are in. He does not tire of her physically.  He notes that she cries every night.  But his obsession is uncaring of her feelings, her desires, her interests.

Other Books by Author
Ada (1969)
Pale Fire (1962)
Pnin (1957)
Speak, Memory (1967)

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