Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Review: Lolita

Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov 
Pages: 361
My Rating: 4.5/5

“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”

"Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, whom 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?" 
I had, as I assume most people do throughout their lifetime, heard many things about this novel. I had heard it was brilliant, but more prominently, I had heard people talk about how terribly appalling it was. The latter, I could not quite comprehend: it is only a novel, merely a made-up story - how could such a thing ever be so horrifying? 
Even though Nabokov's writing style is flawless, and the story is over all incredibly fascinating, I somehow felt it was at times repetitive. Also, towards the ending I got rather confused, but I will not spoil that on here, assuming some of you may not yet have read the novel.  Therefore, along with the fact that I could not read it in one go and had to take a reading pause of about a week, I 'only' rate it 4.5 stars, rather than 5. 
I have never before read a novel like Lolita, and believe I never will again. 

Now, I do not feel like I should be saying too much about this novel, because so much has already been written, but I do want to get some things off my chest.

This was the first novel that I ever had to put down because the writing was too brilliant. Let me explain this. The perspective this novel takes on, is that of the pedophile Humbert Humbert. The novel is written as a kind of plead to the jury who are about to decide whether he is guilty or not. Therefore, the narrator tries to justify his actions. He does this by explaining how beautiful Lolita is in his eyes, and how she supposedly seduced him - He couldn't help himself, it was her fault. Readers will at this point understand that Humbert is not a reliable narrator at all, and that he truly is a pervert. Despite his effort to defend himself, he will never mislead the audience. However, because of Humbert's excellent command of the English language (as it is not his first language, and nor Nabokov's), and impeccable description of feelings, we will understand exactly what he is feeling, and we will believe it is real. This is, I then started to understand, why so many people had a hard time reading this novel, and I must admit, I did too. Because of Humbert's grusome imagination and Nabokov's brilliant writing, I had to quit reading for about a week - just to cut myself loose from this mesmerising pedophile. 

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