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. This reviewer has never been able to find
in any of Nabokov's other work quite the vitality, and beauty there
is in this extraordinary novel. (Kirkus UK)
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'. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet
or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all of these?
Humbert Humbert's 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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