On Nabokov’s Lolita, I can say only this much: it is incomprehensible, a riddle, a madman’s confession and self-vindication. I smugly searched for the weak point in the convoluted fabric of the text to pin my verdict on, but I was more and more enmeshed in the blinding eloquence and irreverent irony of the narrative voice.Towards the middle of the novel, my righteous indignation back-pedalled and I ended up blaming the ‘victim’, Dolores, for luring the poor ‘predator’, Humbert. By the end I was at my wit’s end groping for a ‘suitable’/ ‘appropriate’ word that would sufficiently express my judgement –which was a void.
Lolita is a classic, no doubt, the least because of its aesthetic eroticism; it is a carefully constructed make-believe mold inside and out. I wouldn’t say I liked the book, the shock tactics repelled me, but the tortuous mental labyrinth in the protagonist’s phrenic, grandiloquent gab was enthralling and the situation being described is too personal and direct you don’t have access to the habitual method of seeing events happen ‘to’ people, but ‘through’ them– so that we are with them in their actions and reflections. You are a helpless bystander, a witness not of events, but of a life-like semblance and just as you cannot find fault with a diarist’s personal experiences, Lolita is beyond fault–because it’s too personal.