Lolita is my favorite book of all time, a perfect book that tells a terrible and tragic story.
When I first found Lolita I was twelve years old, the same age as little Lolita at the beginning of book. I was at my local library checking out the “N” shelf (which contained my other favorite salacious author at the time, Anais Nin, and where I usually found other “interesting” works of fiction). There she was waiting for me. I’ve read Lolita dozens of times since then, and at one point during the depths of my Lolita obsession would listen to Jeremy Irons read the audio book while I slept, his elegant voice infusing my brain with Nabokov’s haunting prose.
Perhaps, in my own naiveté, a part of me wanted to emulate the more glamorous aspects of what I knew of the pop culture Lolita: a gum chewing, wisecracking, wannabe starlet, resplendent in heart shaped sunglasses and sticky lip gloss. Later, I realized that my preconceived ideas of Lolita’s story (which is actually Humbert’s story) were totally wrong and that no little girl would dream of being in Lolita’s situation. Regardless of my understanding at the time, I have always been fascinated with her image.
There’s such sadness in Lolita. In the end, everyone is dead, and I mourn for all of them time and time again. She has broken my heart so many times, and yet I still continue to love her. So, on the 60th anniversary of her publication, I say Happy Birthday my russet nymphet. You continue to make my heart weep with every reading, and I’ll love you forever.
Please help me celebrate her birthday with this series of reflections from the Lolita Book Club, a club I would definitely be proud to be a member of…
Check out “Ten Writers Consider Nabokov’s Novel, Page by Page” presented by the Lolita Book Club at New Republic.