Damn Nabokov


I’m in a really difficult relationship at the moment. With a book called Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

We first met only two nights ago – I was lingering in an overpriced airport bookstore when I spotted the title: black letters beaming from that creamy block between two orange stripes – a Penguin book. It escalated from there. We were acquainted, we shook hands (a little dubiously), I began reading the first paragraph.

BOOM. Suddenly, I was having an out-of-body experience. My blurred hands were turning pages, my eyes scrolling back and forth across the limp pages that had come to life. I couldn’t hear the air hostess asking me to give verbal permission that I would pull out the emergency exit if we crashed. I was in love. Enraptured. The book became an extension of my hands. I nearly missed my tram stop. I stayed up too late. I did all the crazy things people do when they’re in love.

But the honeymoon stage didn’t last too long. One day, to be exact. As usual, careers got in the way. Lolita is a wonderful book; addictive, sensual, strange, gripping and the protagonist is formed so well, I believe I saw him in the street yesterday. This is all well and good, being in love like this, unless you have other commitments.

We had our first argument yesterday. I was in a university class, the book was on my lap, it kept on pleading and moaning for me to read it.

“I’m so exciting! Remember what just happened…in the next chapter it gets better.”

I shushed the book. I had a tutor to listen to. But the damn thing continued to complain until I impatiently tore out the bookmark and slyly read a few lines under the table. This happened again while I was trying to study in the library. Again, I fell victim to the alluring words of Nabokov. My relationship with his book has turned bitter-sweet.

But today, I’m taking control and laying out ground rules. If we are to stay together till the end, the following points must be adhered to:

1) The book is only to be read to and from uni, when I have nothing better to do than stare at the other glum passengers on the tram.

2) No tempting me. The book is to stay in my bag at ALL times during the day.

Hopefully, now that we have this sorted out, we’ll be able to move forward. Damn that genius Nabokov.


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