Nabokov’s Lolita

“If a violin string could ache, I would be that string.” These words, better than any others, reflect the emotional content of Nabokov’s book. To me, Lolita is the pinnacle of Nabokov’s writing. The book is a masterpiece, perfect as it is: an incredible, yet harmonious blend of aesthetically beautiful narrative and a full palette of human emotions.

I remember reading the book in Russian when I was a teenager, it left me bewildered then: I could sense the beauty of the language, but I was not ready to grasp the depths of human misery, because understanding comes with experience, and I was too young for the book. Today, when I am a whole life older, Lolita is one of my personal aesthetical treasures, and I think it will remain one till the end of my life.

Very few authors have the courage to portray love in such a variety of colors. Very few can sympathize with their character so deeply that even ugliness appears beautiful in their hands. Nabokov did this job perfectly well.

Nabokov himself used to say: “Read the books that you love with a thrill and a gasp of delight” (“Книги, которые вы любите, нужно читать, вздрагивая и задыхаясь от восторга.”) I can say that this time, re-reading Nabokov’s Lolita, I experienced exactly the same feelings.

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