~by Vladimir Nabokov
Imprisoned and awaiting trial for murder, Humbert Humbert pens in his cell a final manuscript, Lolita, or the Confession of a White Widowed Male. In it he describes his life, his dark and intense passion for a twelve-year-old girl, and what has brought him to where he is now. Told as a memoir of sorts and intended as testimony, he reveals his terrible flaws and reveals his terrible love of and for Lolita.
The writing is marvelous, if at times confusing (which is most likely intentional and keeping with the plot). Although I hate to admit it, Humbert Humbert makes a surprisingly sympathetic character, at least in the beginning. As the book progresses, and as does his obsession, he provokes less understanding and more apprehension. The reader is brought along on the terrible journey as he ruins both his and her lives, driving her away and leaving behind his own sanity.
This was a difficult book for me to read because it touched upon my personal life in a variety of ways, but it was ultimately worth it. In fact, I plan to read it again at some point. Throughout the novel, Nabokov has sprinkled literary allusions (many of which I probably missed) and phrases in French (which I couldn't read, but mostly got the gist). I've purchased The Annotated Lolita for my next reading (whenever that may be) as it translates the French phrases in addition to other annotations which I am sure I will find helpful. Despite the humor that is interspersed throughout the novel, it is ultimately a rather depressing story.