by Vladimir Nabokov
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.
I gave this book 5 stars. Lolita was the most confounding and generally confusing book I've ever read. The narrator is unreliable and therefore you don't get the "real story" which means you have to figure it all out on your own.
I first read Lolita when I was 14 years old and at the time I was under the impression that Lolita was "romantic". I loved Humbert so much and I wanted him to be with Lolita. As I got older my perception of Humbert changed so completely I'm surprised I didn't see it to begin with. Humbert Humbert was a man who was having a disgusting pedophilic relationship with his stepdaughter. The man was mentally ill.
We got to see this man's deepest thoughts and feelings. His scarred passed and his "love" for Lolita. We fell for his character and ignored all the signs of something wrong. This all came at the cost of little Dolores Hayes. Humbert ruined her life to the point where she couldn't stand to be around him. I honestly can't tell if he's a sociopath or just delusional, he definitely shows signs of both.
I bought the 50th Anniversary Edition of this book and when I was looking at the back cover there is a small blurb from Vanity Fair saying "The only convincing love story of our century" and at the time I took that to mean that it was a romance. Now I think that either this is in complete irony. It's Vanity Fair's way of saying "love is dead" or "fairy tale romances are so unlikely, this is real life", but I could also take it to mean that whoever wrote the review at Vanity fair might also have been completely fooled by Humbert's charm. Nabokov created Humbert's obsession with Dolores Hayes and made it into this living thing. We all saw it as love, but it was far from it.
The reason I gave this book five stars was because of the authors ability to turn my on mind against me. It was something that should have disturbed me, but ended up as a fantasy. If I had to choose I would put this book in the horror genre, it's scary how we can lose our morals when things are said in a pretty way.
The style of the writing itself was poetic. It was beautiful writing which was another reason that Humbert was so hard to hate. The man was a romantic who, even on paper sounded like the perfect man. It romanticized what this man was doing, it was a silkscreen over a cesspit.
In the words of Taylor Swift, this book is "a nightmare dressed as a daydream". Humbert was a man willing to do whatever it took to get what he wanted, despite how terrible that truly was. He ruined so many lives in his quest to have Lolita, including her's.
Overall, this book is truly a masterpiece. It's something everyone should read, it's something that is very good for discussion. It isn't something you can't have an opinion about. I would highly recommend reading this book.
“And the rest is rust and stardust.”
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. 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.”
“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don't really exist if you don't.”
“You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”
“And she was mine, she was mine, the key was in my fist, my fist was in my pocket, she was mine.”