We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.
I’m impressed by words, by their power to create stories, to describe people and new worlds. How else could a book like Lolita captivate me? Certainly not through the “romance” between the two main characters.
We’ve all heard of Lolita: a scandalous novel in its time, turned down by publishers because the subject was too shocking – the story is about a man who falls in love with a child of only 12 years! I’ve also heard that Lolita is about a forbidden love, and this is the version that shocked me the most. Lolita – a love story? I refuse to believe that somebody could think that.
It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight.
Yet, Lolita – the book – captivated me. I was amazed by how the author, Vladimir Nabokov, drew Lolita’s world through Humbert’s eyes. He managed to create a story that catches the reader like a spider web. You don’t like it (at least this was my case), but you cannot escape it. You want to know what happens next, page after page till the end.
About Lolita, the character, I don’t have too many words. She is the centerpiece of a mature man, but that’s all. She is not the center of the story, as I was expecting her to be. Lolita, the book, is Humbert’s story, a man traumatized by a childhood lost love. He is caught in the past, looking for that girl. He sees her in the faces of young girls around him. They are the nymphets. Mature women don’t impress him, he is repulsed by them. Although, at a turning point in his life, he marries one. The divorce comes naturally as his wife cheats on him. He enters a second marriage, but this time he marries Lolita’s mother. The reason is obvious. It is interesting how everything happens as if the whole universe attends to the fulfillment of his wish.
Life is short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five paces. It is a very short walk. Make those twenty-five steps. Now. Right now. Come just as you are. And we shall live happily ever after.
If I was to listen the words of some others, I would have accused Humbert of all evils of this story, but Lolita is not really a saint herself. She is far from being an innocent young girl. Though, she is a victim of circumstances, a child who faces the hardships of life too soon. She can’t make the difference between right and wrong. Not having a father to guide her, losing her mother too, she sticks to Humbert – her step father –, the only person around. Later, she will escape forever in another world, away from the monster who destroyed her life.
Lolita is one of those books that either make you fall in love with them forever or disgust you completely. And I liked it. I loved the way Nabokov managed to give life to the characters making his reader empathize with them. I must say (and I think you’ll agree) that Vladimir Nabokov’s talent is undeniable. He is a genius of his time. If you haven’t read Lolita yet, it’s about time!
Enjoy the book, Divas!
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