Awaiting trial, Humbert Humbert is encouraged to write his memoirs. In his account we learn about how the defining moment of his adolesence would haunt him into adulthood. This youthful interaction created in him a hunger for prepubescent girls of a certain age. When he encounters the young Dolores Hayes at the boarding house where he lives he becomes obsessed with her; eventually acting on this obsession is what leads him down the path that landed him in state custody.
This book is disturbing on so many levels I am not even sure where to start. HH's pedophilic desires, his obssesion, even Dolores herself. Yet I couldn't put this book down. It haunted me. Nabokov has created a truly fascinating character and Jeremy Iron's reading of the novel is unforgettable. I am not sure I will ever get his characterization of H.H. out of my head. His refined voice and mannerisms absolutely captured the very essence of this character. As for Nabokov, it absolutely blows my mind that he was able to take a character as vile as Humbert Humbert and make him sympathetic. His obsession with his Lolita nearly drove him mad and I could not resist the temptation to feel pity for this man, despite my disgust. I had to understand what drove him to the very depths of depravity.
I hesitate to recommend this book, because it's content and subject matter are truly repellent. Yet I also hesitate to say that any person can truly count themselves as well read without having read this book. That sounds elitest and snobhish, but Lolita is truly must read literature.