by Vladimir Nabokov
Started: 11th August 2015
Finished: 15th August 2015
Like many people I had heard a lot about Lolita prior to reading it. Despite this I never knew the plot of the novel in a lot of detail which meant I was able to go into it relatively blind, which I’m really happy about as nothing was ruined about the story for me.
Lolita is told by Humbert Humbert, a European scholar with an unhealthy, obsessive, fascination with young girls. His life changes when he meets 12-year-old Dolores Haze, whom he dubs ‘Lolita’. She’s the ‘nymphet’ he’s always been hoping for, but complications arise that even he didn’t expect…
I am so conflicted by Humbert, of course it was terrible the way he spoke about Lolita and other young girls, but it’s written in such a funny way I didn’t hate him as much as I thought I would. There was something so pathetic about him at times, it just softened my view of him. Not all of the time, but certainly often enough that allows you to keep reading. Lolita herself was an interesting character and it was very easy to forget how young she is. Her behaviour and attitude certainly contributed to this – however as it’s from Humbert’s perspective it’s difficult to distinguish how exaggerated her actions are.
There wasn’t much in terms of plot for parts of the novel. At times it just seemed like it was Humbert reminiscing about the times he had with Lolita. The novel certainly picked up in Part Two, when Humbert has a rival for Lolita’s affections, and became much more intense. Although, I did still like the more laid back approach of the beginning of the novel and getting to learn about the characters.
This novel was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. There was just something about the way it was written and the way Humbert presents himself as the poor, helpless, victim. When things weren’t happening I found my mind wandering and losing track of what was really going on, but I didn’t miss anything too vital to the story. Even when there was a lot going on I did find it a little difficult to keep up with but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. The final pages weren’t what I was really expecting but I loved them and the way they ended the novel – it gave the story a more authentic feel.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel and I’m pleased I’ve finally got round to seeing what all the fuss is about. Now I know what happens, this novel is one I’d like to revisit in the future as I’m sure there’s small things I’ve missed in my first reading.