Controlled and composed, that was Humbert Humbert away from Lolita. “There’s no funnier monster in modern literature than poor, doomed Humbert Humbert” this is what caught my attention, this description compelled me to read this novel and cast it as a piece of art. Humbert through Vladimir Nabokov, got his wish where he immortalized Lolita, figuratively and literally -through the presence of the novel-.
“Thus, neither of us is alive when the reader opens this book. But while the blood still throbs through my writing hand, you are still as much part of blessed matter as I am, and I can still talk to you from here to Alaska. Be true to your Dick. Do not let other fellows touch you. Do not talk to strangers. I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, be- cause otherwise my specter shall come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve. And do not pity C.Q. One had to choose between him and H.H., and one wanted H.H. to exist at least a couple of months longer, so as to have him make you live in the minds of later generations. I am thinking of au-rochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art.
And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.”
The lines were blurred, one cannot quite manage to say Nabokov’s Lolita as smoothly as Humbert’s Lolita. Humbert’s strong possession of Lolita trumped Nabokov’s authorial presence.
I get why this book turned heads around. However, the continuous irony, sadistic humour and erotic shadow that have been extended throughout the novel created an atmosphere which I believe would be hard to find in any other novel. Nabokov’s writing was filled with an ecstatic attention to detail, emotion, and nuance, he artfully used Humbert to manipulate his readers into becoming invested in Humbert’s point of view and poetic telling of things, losing sight of any gruesome act taking place.
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.
Nabokov allowed us to read such a twisted tale through the man’s point of view. I struggled with this. I could not fathom not hearing Lolita’s voice with an extended measure through the chapters, and it was odd. However, I believe that this was what I needed to make me fall in love with this book. How can someone fall with such an ugly yet beautifully written book?
He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.
The absence of Lolita’s voice casted Humbert in the limelight. Humbert proceeded to create a tale that would last for ages, a tale set in paper, engraved in stone, that of Lolita, his Lolita.
Rating: 5 stars.