Russia

Lolita

Lolita by Nabokov.

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What I remember about Lolita is the prose, the words, the new creative sentence constructions, the long sentences that seem infinite, but also logical and not annoying. I enjoyed the hymn of Lolita. Lo. Lee. Ta. From the first paragraph on I’m From the first paragraph on, you have been caught. He loves her, unmistakably. Nabokov has created a unique work that is more than worth reading, and my words are far from covering the charge.

The story

It is a story about Lolita, told by Professor Humbert. Only Lolita, or Dolores Haze, as she is actually called, is twelve. Her mother’s death is for the professor a chance to take Dolores with him and her child are thus deprived. It never becomes explicit, but it is clear that Dolores suffers from an existence with him.

The setting is the America of the 50s. In which there were no mobile phones and time went slower. Yet I find it a timeless book. It is a story that could happen today. The shadowy motels where they sleep, the crazy people who walk around there and the cars he describes, in fifty years, that exists in America still I know from experience.

You are taken from scene to scene and at the end follows a twist of which I wonder if Nabokov knew this at the beginning, though, the book is neatly constructed and amazed me. With a nice end scene the story is around, but it are the scenes in which Humbert Lo-li-ta describes that I find the most beautiful.

Prose

Lo is the center of his universe. His book is a hymn of praise, a prose, a long love poem and precise elaborations of why he loves Lolita. Her hair, how she folds her arms, how her skin is shiny and brown, how she eagerly eats ice cream, how her body curls and how she sleeps sweetly. You start to love Lolita and you understand what he sees in her.

Lolita is worth reading, because Nakobov is the only one I know who can describe love – even if it’s bitter – so beautifully. More beautiful than anyone can do. Words, non-existent words, new words are made into long sentences with lots of comma’s, but what is easy to follow. The sentences are strung together and you read on in a sip. You don’t want to stop reading and you want to know how it goes on.

Contested theme

An article in de Volkskrant (a newspaper in the Netherlands) suggests that the subject of Lolita is more controversial than ever. Is that so? Are we living in a society where this is more taboo than 1977? Maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know how 1977 was. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing that we have high penalties for child rapists, the life of a child, being a child I think is a great good and I grant everyone. No adult has the right to take that away.

And is that a reason not to read it? I don’t think so. It is a unique book about a controversial theme, but even if you have a daughter, niece or a lot of conscientious objections against paedophiles – it’s not that I don’t have them – then the book is worth reading. The scenes (luckily?) never really become explicit even though you understand what is going on.

Empathize

Is it better to empathize with old men who love children? No. The suffering of Dolores is clear. The suffering of Dolores is clear, but should the book be banned? No, not even, although I hope it is not a source of inspiration for people.

So read? Yes!

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