Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Pages: ?Rating: 7/10
Books read: 4/50
Synopsis: (from http://www.flipkart.com)
Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he’ll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? …Or is he all of these?
One of the reviewers on flipkart wrote:
“Nabokov often writes his novels in the perspective of detestable villains. You never like them, you're never supposed to like them, and Nabokov doesn't like them either. He slaps them around and humiliates them. And in the end, they pay the price for their sins. Readers never seem to realize this. They become immersed in the psychology of the book and feel defiled by it all. Instead, they should sit back and watch the bastards suffer...”
I actually really disagree with this. I found myself feeling sorry for Humbert Humbert. Lolita wasn't the sweet, lolly-pop licking little lady people seem to think she was. In fact, whilst he was totally susceptible, and encouraging, and ended up doing horrible things, she seduced him! Well, as much as a 12 year old girl can. I imagine he would have gathered up the courage eventually, but for all intents and purposes she consented. Also at no point does he actually rape her in the usual sense of the word. I'm sure there are some that will think I'm encouraging paedophilia, and I assure you, that is most certainly not the case. It does, however, make me curious about how easily this sort of thing might happen, even these days.
What really truly intrigued me about this book was its window into the obsessive nature of a sex offender, and how easily obsession and lust are mistaken for love.
Humbert drags Lolita around the country, trying to avoid being noticed, meanwhile trading money and treats for her sexual participation. Desperately in love with her, eventually things go awry (as is mentioned throughout the story), in an amusing and macabre manner.
I did find the older style of writing had to follow, some sentences were 30 or more words long! I also had trouble understanding some of the less obvious stuff. I managed to grasp the context, just not specific meanings sometimes. And I wouldn't consider myself obtuse by any means. It can be a bit of a hard slog, but it has a sometimes quirky and amusing way of expressing things that lightens it somewhat.
I would definitely recommend reading it, even if only for the sake of saying you have! Do be aware, it does have some disturbing scenes.
Oh sweet seduction...