Book Title: Lolita
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Genre: Literary Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: I own the paperback
Goodreads Summary: 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.
What did I think? There are so many wows while reading this book. Some are positive: wow, this prose is amazing. Some are negative: wow, he's about to rape her while she's sedated with sleeping pills or wow, he's about to kill her mother in a lake, oh no, he changed his mind.
I was honestly stunned at how graphic some of the scenes are but also stunned at how easily and skilfully Nabokov manipulates the reader into feeling sympathy for Humbert. I mean, there were moments where I thought, poor guy, he just... JUST? Wow, I can't believe I almost thought that (see? another wow.)
The prose is beautiful. I don't think I've ever read a book that uses such skilled prose. I believe the author's style is incomparable. It's an easy and quick read, not dense and the portrayal of Humbert's mind is engaging and terrifying at the same time.
Part of this book reads like a black comedy and there is a surprising amount of humour within the story and within the language Nabokov uses.
I don't think Nabokov meant Humbert as a hero, I believe he's critiquing him, but at the same time he makes it possible for the reader to get inside the mind of an abusive person and listen to his justifications. Twisted but beautiful and interesting and therefore in my opinion well worth a read.