Thursday, April 7, 2011

'She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning.'

I was thinking this morning of childhood, which then led me away into the books I was reading when I was 5, when I was 10, 15, 20. One of my favourite books as a teenager was Nabokov's Lolita, mostly because of his way with language but partly because it was 'not the done thing'. Woolly-chested Humbert was shiveringly sympathetic to me at that age, but the ability to paint a girl into something resembling a demon was astounding.  The one-sided skewing of the first person narrative was a revelation.
 "She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita." - Vladimir Nabokov
I memorised and quoted these lines for a book report I did in year 11. My teacher accused me of plagiarism, of having help, and couldn't contemplate that a spangly-limbed teenager could read, or understand or (*gasp*) enjoy the book.

Photo Source: Penguin edition cover from 'Camille Reads' blog.

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