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25 August 2012

Brazen Review: Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

LolitaAwe and exhilaration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

My Thoughts:  Lolita recounts the sad and convoluted tale of Humbert Humbert's tender, twisted obsession with a young nymphet, Dolores, whom he affectionately refers to as his Lolita.  Lolita is a young, pubescent American girl unfortunate enough to catch the attentions of our poor, sick Humbert.  But, Lolita is not exactly what she seems to be, and neither is Humbert.

I mostly enjoyed Nabokov's superbly written tale of unrequited love, albeit a dark, demented love that reeks, from the first chapter, of the tragedy it is.  Humbert is self reflective throughout, taking readers along the pocked and rutted path to destruction he travels knowingly - yet compulsively - to its conclusion; somehow turning toward justice, repentance, and redemption without ever granting the absolution the pitiful Humbert knows he doesn't deserve - and would never accept if offered.

The depravity of H. Humbert is portrayed alongside intelligence and thoughtfulness in such a way that brought this character to life.  In telling his tale, Humbert opens his experience, his highs and lows, to the reader in complete abandon, confessing his crimes with regret and self-loathing even as he relishes each sweet moment with his lovely Lolita.

Dolly's portrayal is equally intriguing, her adolescence jaded and infected by the infamous H. Humbert.  I hoped and hoped throughout the novel that a happy ending of sorts could be procured for Delores, Dolly, Lolita - who had endured so much, overcome and contrived, survived - a triumph within itself.  Reader beware, the ending's irony will not be what you expect. 

One complaint I must mention is that the novel became nearly incoherent in chapters 22 through 27.  At least twice, this Broad seriously considered abandoning Lolita.  In the end, I'm glad I continued reading.

 Lolita is nothing I expected it to be, instead, the novel is a voyeurs peek into the life of a disturbed man. 

Overall Rating: 

Fair ~ ♣ ♣ ♣



  1. Emma,
    It really was. It's one of those classics that I had never got around to reading. I'm glad I finally did. :}

  2. I have so many classics on my TBR list. Not sure how I'm going to get to them all.

  3. Very glad you found time to try this. Out of interest, what was it that make chapters 22-27 difficult for you?


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