The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist & unreliable narrator, a 37–38-year-old literature professor, Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather.
Ah Nabokov. If only I could bottle up your talent and use it.
There are so many ways that Nabokov could’ve written this story, and so many stylistic techniques he could’ve used to achieve it. The novel is poetic, lyrical, and subtly written and although it’s in third person, it really seems to be written from Humbert’s point of view. You find yourself sympathising with him, and then you become slightly horrified and confused when you realise it.
The reader is given a (disturbing) insight into Humbert’s paedophilic desires and not only is Humbert a richly fleshed out, dimensional character, but Lolita is as well. She almost seems to seduce him at times, and then is quite happy to move on when she feels it is the right time.
“I am convinced however, that in a certain magic and fateful way Lolita began with Annabel.”
Humbert’s paranoia and – at times – murderous desires capture a truly disturbed mind willing to do anything to attain and keep Lolita. And then Humbert believes he’s being followed and he and Lolita roadtrip around to various motels and hotels so that they – but mostly he – can remain undetected.
My Score: 9/10