Lolita was a revelation.

The incomprehensible beauty of the grotesque. The perversion and the plight in the novel is so extreme that I wanted to physically turn away from the book just like I want to turn away from other unpleasant sights and smells. But, it’s not like the faint fragrance of a french perfume that an untrained nose can easily miss. It’s miasma. You couldn’t miss it even if you wanted to.

It’s so dire. You don’t have to imagine the horrid, it’s right there. I kept oscillating between feelings of disgust and sympathy (!) for Humbert Humbert. At one time, to my own horrow, I felt sad for his pathetic character. That is not so surprising, though considering that we never really go inside Lolita’s mind. It’s all about the perverted Humbert Humbert right till the end. And the brilliance of Nabokov’s writing lies there. HH’s mind seems an octopus entangled in itself. And the readers have an unrestrained access to it. It’s like walking inside someone’s mind and being disgusted by everything that’s present and being fascinated by it at the same time. It’s inexplicable.

The experience of reading Lolita is easily comparable to watching Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris and seeing Bacon’s paintings. Their world is diseased but lively just like a colony of bacteria can be. It’s like reality at its worst. It’s also like how we believe the worst reality to be the most real.

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