The subject matter, of a middle-aged man desiring a young girl, a
nymphet of 12 at the beginning of their affair, was so outrageous
that the sheer delicacy and also the wit of the writing was hardly
commented on. Lolita was not, in fact, about sex - it was about
love and it was about erotic emotion, not any kind of pornography.
Humbert is one of the most self-aware narrators in contemporary
fiction, and mocks, and derides, and lashes himself with wonderful
energy. He sees himself as others see him and is merciless in
attacking what he is doing to Lolita, quite clear-eyed about what
she is doing to herself. None of Nabokov's other work has the
vitality and beauty of this extraordinary novel. (Kirkus UK)
'Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.'
Poet and pervert, Humbert Humbert becomes obsessed by twelve-year-old Lolita and seeks to possess her, first carnally and then artistically, out of love, 'to fix once for all the perilous magic of nymphets'. This seduction is one of many dimensions in Nabokov's dizzying masterpiece, which is suffused with a savage humour and rich, elaborate verbal textures.
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