“We all have such fateful objects–it may be a recurrent landscape in one, a number in the other–carefully chosen by the gods to attract specific significance for us: here John shall always stumble, there Jane’s heart shall always break.”
Oh, Lolita. It’s difficult to put in to words the feelings that goes through the reader’s head during Nabokov’s novel. It’s deeply perverse narrative is matched by the Russian-born author’s poetic English. My only interaction before reading the novel was Stanley Kubrick’s early masterpiece of the same name. Intrigued by the source material, I picked up Lolita from my then girlfriend’s recommendation and became instantly astounded.
Vladamir Nabokov’s Lolita follows Humbert Humbert on his quest for the love of the pre-pubscent Dolly(Lolita). After an unsuccessful adult marriage, Humbert immigrates to the U.S., residing in a rented room with the widow Charlotte Haze and her aforementioned daughter. After a strange and fatal car accident, Dolly’s mother, who had fallen for Humbert’s “French” charm, is killed. What follows is a pyschadellic road-trip across the United States with a bi-polar middle-aged man and coming-of-age girl.
Where is Nabokov’s immaculately dirty novel placed in our age? If you’re not the least bit drawn to Lolita’s story, the author’s grasp of the English language should be enough. Originally born in Russia, Nabokov’s vocabulary makes most English speakers sound archaic. The writing is much more than simple comic remarks(“We arrived a town called “Soda. Pop. 1187”), but also investigated of love and life. Though at times the prose is weary, Lolita is an excellent book that will make you smile more than once.
“I have noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability type that character’s acquire in the reader’s mind. No matter how many we reopen ‘King Lear’ never shall we find the good king banging his tankard in high revelry, all woes forgotten, at a jolly reunion with all three daughters and their lapdogs. Never will Emma rally, revived by the sympathetic salts in Flaubert’s father timely tear. Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous, but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book poetry his age has seen.”