Monday, September 9, 2013

Review on the book Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

LolitaLolita by Vladimir Nabokov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lolita always had a negative connotation. Even when I shared to people that I was reading Lolita, they already had a negative ruling on the book. They said it was a sexy book, but contrarily Lolita is far from it. Obviously it is a classic novel so everybody knows about it and the subject that Nabokov has written about is very disturbing and tabooed.

Humbert a full grown male adult is the narrator who declares his ceaseless and hysterical love/desire for a child named Lolita. There are few instances in the book that really appalled me. For instance Humbert says Lolita (the little child) was the one who seduced him. Imagine the intensity of that charge to justify his sickening action; blaming a child walking around and sitting on his lap innocently for the reason he raped her repeatedly. Second thing that was shocking to me was Humbert realizing the fact that Lolita will one day grow up and that he might need to find someone alternative for his sexual needs. He then envisages marrying Lolita to have a girl child (little Lolita) that he can use as a pawn to satisfy his pedophilic needs in the future.

How the writer Nabokov explains about Humbert being a pedophile by nature, I thought was pretty interesting and convincing. There are moments when you feel sad for Humbert and then you are disgusted by your own feeling for sympathizing a pedophile. I think Nabokov through his words and writing intended to do exactly that to the readers. He convinces you to side with a pedophile over a little girl. A creepy thought isn’t it?

While this is indeed a book about pedophilia, it is much more than that. I think Nobokov intended to not just look at Humbert's vices but reflect on our own as well. We need to look beyond the flat theme of the book and read between the lines. While it might be difficult for the negative tag that Lolita comes along with to go away, reading the novel definitely made me realize that this book is far from being just plain disturbing, negative and/or sexual.

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