Author: Vladimir Nabokov
When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov’s wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century’s novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author’s use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness. Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
This is one of those classic novels that always taunted me from the bookshelf. I felt guilty even picking it up to read the back. It took me years to gather the courage to check this out of the library. I think it’s because of the subject matter and the themes of the story. Our school didn’t have it on the reading list, though a couple of the surrounding schools did and I was so jealous. I wanted to read this book, mainly because of the shock value associated with reading it.
You ever have a moment where you want to go back in time and just kick yourself? This book is one of those situations. There’s so much more to this book. It’s wonderfully written, full of amazing prose and word games. You’re not supposed to sympathize with Humbert, and there’s not really any point that you can. Nobokov has created such a vile character that one can’t help but hate him (even the author does). It’s an amazing piece of literature. I was swept away in this story, and when I finished it I felt like I was coming out of a haze, I had what a friend lovingly calls a book hangover. I’m glad that I waited to read this. If I had read it when I was younger I would have been too caught up in the sensationalism of the story and missed the subtle details, the way the words are layered. There’s a reason why this is a classic.