Sunday, July 12, 2009

#655 It's my jam by Jordan Rondel - Lolita



I’m currently reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, the classic novel about a man and his obsession with young girls. Humbert, the French literary genius, falls in love with 12-year-old Lolita and the story follows their adventures all over America. This book is written so beautifully and is full of the most dense and passionate descriptions. I sometimes find myself thinking in the style of narrative the book is written in because the language is so dramatic and captivating. You must read it if you haven’t already. Here’s a little excerpt that shows what I’m talking about.
“As she bent her brown curls over the desk at which I was sitting, Humbert the Hoarse put his arm around her in a miserable imitation of blood-relationship; and still studying, somewhat shortsightedly, the piece of paper she held, my innocent little visitor sank to a half-sitting position upon my knee. Her adorable profile, parted lips, warm hair were some three inches from my bared eye-tooth; and I felt the heat of her limbs through her rough tomboy clothes. All at once I knew I could kiss her throat or the wick of her mouth with perfect impunity. I knew she would let me do so, and even close her eyes as Hollywood teaches. A double vanilla with hot fudge—hardly more unusual than that.”

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6 comments:

Charlotte said...

this book is amazing, one of my favs, because it is so dense like you say, with genius; i'd kill to write like him.

i keep re-reading this, only to falter, out of admiration and awe. the movies are awesome too, i prefer the original version, though the remake is .. sartorially cuter, haha.

NBT said...

I'm not sure the novel should be described as a story about a French literary genius who falls in love with a 12-year-old and their adventures all over America.

Humbert, the "french literary genius," is a paedophile. The story is replete with damning facts of child abuse. What's remarkable is that Nabokov gives Humbert full scope to lure inattentive readers into acquiescence.

The language is intentionally alluring. Humbert's story is told from Humbert's point of view. Nabokov wants us to recognise the power of the mind to rationalise away the harm it can cause.

Well, that's what they taught us in Stage II English anyway.

Kline said...

Goddamn. I was looking for that edition but had to settle for the 'cheap' orange penguin one.

But it really is beautifully written. My favorite novel so far.

Anonymous said...

You've only just stumbled across this book...missing the boat is something one should never openly admit.

Isaac Likes said...

@ Anon - There's nothing I love more than a good pretentious comment. Go you!

Mimi said...

Oh dear..I hate to agree with the other anonymous comments but unfortunately there must be a lot of people out there that read the great classics and 'miss the point' so to speak...
Beautiful prose aside, studying/considering the underlying themes will add to your enjoyment of the novel Jordan, I recommend it! :)
I have to agree with NBT's summation. Interestingly, I was taught that the novel was a metaphor for totalitarianism/tyranny in Russia. I think Humbert is a despicable character.