by Vladimir Nabokov
I wrote a review, I read it, and thought “No! this is not what I think of the novel!”, so I wrote another one which couldn’t describe my feelings, either. And I kept writing one after one.. none of them satisfied me. So far this is the fifth review where I am trying to settle down my ideas and decide whether I like the book or not. In a point of fact, I still don’t know how I am feeling towards the book myself! Did I hate it? But why then I kept reading it everywhere I went to? Or how could such an ugly, pervert creature such as Humbert Humbert (Long name! let’s call him H.H) drive me to all sorts of pain by every word he writes?
The story is about a middle-aged man and a twelve year old girl and their love affair. When this evilness of lust & desire meet the innocence of a young girl all that written in a way that no one can ever write like, you know that you are reading a great book. A book that will make you wonder what is love? Is it really a pure thing? Or is it an evil passion one which people cannot control, one that drives people crazy and makes them lose their minds, makes them commit things that are totally against their wills?
When the story first begin, we get to know H.H’s motivations, he tells us about his story at a time when he was a teenager and how he has once loved a girl called Annabel and how hard it was for him to deal with her death. Ever since then H.H becomes incapable of resisting nymphets! He’s old now, but obviously still having these feeling towards certain kinds of girls. When H.H first meets Lolita. He thinks that he only loves her, because she is like a shadow of his first love. His writing-style is much more than what I would say:
’’There are two kinds of visual memory: one when you skillfully recreate an image in the laboratory of your mind, with your eyes open (and then I see Annabel in such general terms as: “honey-colored skin,” “think arms,” “brown bobbed hair,” “long lashes,” “big bright mouth”); and the other when you instantly evoke, with shut eyes, on the dark inner side of your eyelids, the objective, absolutely optical replica of a beloved face, a little ghost in natural colors (and this is how I see Lolita).’’
So yeah you will expect to hate H.H in the beginning it’s always hard to read a book when the protagonist is an evil, selfish guy, but what I found it pretty satisfying is when I realised that H.H was actually in love with Lolita! It’s actually more like an obsession, for a better description. It all started with a desire to possesses her carnally, but afterwards and only when H.H meets Lolita again after years, an older Lolita that isn’t a nymphet any more, he realises that he is still madly in love with her no matter how old, how pale she is:
’’and I looked and looked at her, and knew as clearly as I know I am to die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth, or hoped for anywhere else. She was only the faint violet whiff and dead leaf echo of the nymphet I had rolled myself upon with such cries in the past; an echo on the brink of a russet ravine, with a far wood under a white sky, and brown leaves choking the brook, and one last cricket in the crisp weeds… but thank God it was not that echo alone that I worshipped. What I used to pamper among the tangled vines of my heart, mon grand pch radieux, had dwindled to its essence: sterile and selfish vice, all that I cancelled and cursed. You may jeer at me, and threaten to clear the court, but until I am gagged and halfthrottled, I will shout my poor truth. I insist the world know how much I loved my Lolita, this Lolita, pale and polluted, and big with another’s child, but still gray-eyed, still sooty-lashed, still auburn and almond, still Carmencita, still mine; Changeons de vie, ma Carmen, allons vivre quelque, part o nous ne serons jamais spars; Ohio? The wilds of Massachusetts? No matter, even if those eyes of hers would fade to myopic fish, and her nipples swell and crack, and her lovely young velvety delicate delta be tainted and torneven then I would go mad with tenderness at the mere sight of your dear wan face, at the mere sound of your raucous young voice, my Lolita.’’
Beautiful, isn’t it? And far more shocking to know that the writer is Russian! How could he write in such a perfect way? I was really really amazed by his words and the style was WOW especially when H.H begs the reader to understands him; this all have made me go through all kinds of emotions: disgust, fear, compassion and even LOVE! Only someone with Nabokov’s gift for language could manage to create such a complex combination, right?
I know this is a long review so I’ll sum up, the book is about an inside-ugly person he’s smart, amusing and somehow even funny! It’s the kind of books that will make you feel guilty for loving them, or for having any kind of compassion or sympathy toward its characters and it certainly will leave you out of words just like I am now. At last, I would love to quote Humbert and say: Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I am Malak Alrashed a girl who’s trying to keep her self away from every possible sin, have actually read and loved this book with all my soul!
Do I recommend this book?
Certainly not! Especially for those who only see the world in black and white.