Lolita was a book that really tested my patience. I bought it because of the controversial theme. No, I'm not a pervert, I just wanted to see how it was executed. Also because Lolita is included on TIME magazine's list of the 100 best English language novels to have been published from 1923 to 2005. I have tried reading this book umpteen number of times before I actually read it. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of this classic, the story is about Humbert Humbert (HH) who has a sexual fascination for girls aged from 9 to 14, whom he calls nymphets. He meets Dolores Haze, 12, and is deeply infatuated by her. He then christens her Lolita. To top it, he becomes her stepfather and still nurses sexual feelings for her and later gets sexually involved with her. Their journey is what forms the book. The subject is clearly taboo, but I loved the book. In spite of it testing my patience and hurting my eyes with the never ending paragraphs. I have reviewed the book here. Now, I shall tell you why you must read the book.
I'm not a big fan of love stories, but to me the soul of this book was this very emotion. Love. If you want to read a love story that is different from anything that you have ever read, read this. While it is very easy to judge HH and loathe him for his perversions, you cannot help but feel sad for him later as the story unfolds. What starts of as infatuation, later becomes a dangerous passion which you may or may not call as love. While Lolita seems like the victim based on the blurb, you realize that is not entirely true. It is the unexpected suspense and the way the story flows that makes it so brilliant. Read it if you want a virtual tour around England too. HH and Lolita travel all around the country from state to state staying in motels. Their journeys are described in precise detail and you can imagine the scenes as they drive.
The initial pages are cringe inducing, but when you get past it and see the real story, you shall see the beauty of it. It is just like any other story you will find. It talks about love, sex, relationships and human emotions. How can this be considered a taboo? It is time we remove the tag "controversial" from this book and give it its due. Yes, the writing is very heavy which makes reading very tedious. Some paragraphs in the book go on and on for four to five pages. The language is complex and is peppered with ample French. Have a dictionary and a translator handy. But, read it!
Apart from what I have said above, just read the book to interpret it in your own way. Until you know the whole story, you will not know what to make of it. Many people have read this book and interpreted it many many ways. While most of them have hated it, there is a small minority who have seen the story without the smudged "risque" glass it comes with. Let's see where you would fall.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?