Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lolita – Vladimir Nabakov

A forty something man falls hopelessly in love with a twelve year old (his idea of beauty is young girls of such tender age) and manipulates things to an extent that he marries her mother to get close to her, then somehow wills the mother’s death, takes off with the twelve year old daughter and engages in a lustful incestuous relationship with her. It does not sound like a book that would be considered a classic and sounds more like stuff that should have a law forbidding it surely (and those were my initial reactions to it too). But as you read Lolita you understand how well he has written such a potentially explosive book that can go over the line, and kept it always under.

You can feel the old man’s desire for his nymphets, as if it’s something alive, and actually feel for him and his helplessness in dealing with this secret desire, the young girl’s initial rebelliousness and her coquettish and mischievous nature that pushes the old man over the line, and then her helplessness as he takes over her life and controls it completely with his possessiveness. As the story grows on you past the initial stages of mere fantasy into a sordid reality, a reality you are secretly accomplice to as as a reader, you really want to know what will happen to them. Will she escape him? How does she cope? Does she find true love? How does the old man deal with her loss? The story goes to a logical conclusion but its not about that really. It’s a book one cannot write about much because the balance is so delicate, the writing so exquisite – one must read it to appreciate it.

Happy I finally got this one done with. Thanks Prarthana.

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