Poet and pervert, Humbert Humbert becomes obsessed by twelve – year – old Lolita and seeks to possess her, first carnally and then artistically, out of love, ‘to fix once for all the perilous magic of nymphets’.
As you must have guessed, Lolita is the story of an old man falling for a young girl and what follows as a consequence. This is my second attempt at reading this book. When I first tried reading it, halfway through the book, I felt the uncontrollable urge to throw up and had to stop and put it aside. At that time, I had been working for an NGO that worked on child protection and this book went against EVERY SINGLE THING that we were/are trying to work towards.
Now, I am currently setting up my own organisation, which deals with mental health and as a result of that, my curiosity for Humbert and Lolita’s characters has been piqued even more than before. So, I decided to finally start reading it once again (I have carried it on my holiday to Bangkok, Thailand after going through the painful task of choosing between my precious books). After spending days and hours trying to decide on which books to take, I carried Lolita and The Husband’s Secrets along with Nearest thing to crazy which is on my Kindle. It almost felt like choosing between which of my children get to go on this holiday! Actually, I am sure it was exactly like that!
Anyway, coming back to Lolita, I am currently on a flight to a secret island where I will be spending 5 blissful days. And Lolita is yet to enter the picture. I am just about through 6 to 7 chapters and the story still has to pick up. However, in these initial chapters, Vladimir has described this concept of nymphets, which sounds both horrifying and extremely plausible at the same time!
Now I wish to introduce the following idea. Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travellers twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as “nymphets”.
The last time I read this paragraph, I was horrified about its repercussions for girls in that age group, with men like that roaming freely amongst us. Now as I read it, I am still horrified but with an added curiosity of where this concept came from and where it is leading to. I have also come to realize that safety for girls or women is a life long concern, not just limited to a particular age group. We will forever be adjusting our scarf, lowering our gaze, carrying pepper spray, and what not in our pursuit to stay safe.
I may have gotten desensitised. Or I may be immune by now. Who knows?
Consequently, I will continue reading this book because I am a little ‘enticed’ by it; at least till the urge to throw up doesn’t overwhelm me once again. And hopefully, I will power through it this time.