Reading Lolita in Tehran? That book stimulated my interest enough to read the book denoted in the title, Lolita. I could already tell from the context in which this book was referenced in Reading Lolita in Tehran that this was going to be a disturbing read. It's about molestation...'nuf said. I've had a hard time writing this review, so bear with me.
The main character, Humbert Humbert (no, that's not a typo), has a fascination with what he refers to as "nymphets," which are essentially prepubescent girls. This French scholar moves into a small boarding house and instantly becomes infatuated with the landlady's daughter, Dolores. Dolores has numerous nicknames throughout the book, namely Lolita. So, this twisted tale begins...
I'm not going to go into the minute details of this book for obvious reasons. However, I will say that there is not a lot of great detail as far as what actually occurs between Humbert and Lolita physically...thank goodness, I don't think I could have read that. A lot of the narration is Humbert's thoughts, feelings, obsessions and so forth.
You learn early in the novel that Humbert's compulsion began when he was prepubesent and the girl he was interested in died unexpectedly. Because he was never able consummate this young relationship (kissing, hand holding, etc.) his fascination with this age of girls begins... And in the end of this book you see that, in a way, once he's able to fully love (physically and emotionally) a girl of this age...he'll love her forever.
Even after Lolita runs away and abandons him, years later when she reappears in his life Humbert is still completely and totally in love with her. In fact, because she is in dire financial straights and pregnant (she is married, though) Humbert gives her thousands of dollars. Humbert also begs her to run away with him again, but she refuses.
The way this novel ends, and the style it has been written throughout, is actually a "confession" for the police. You learn that Humbert has murdered a man of a similar age, Q. In fact, Q is the man that Lolita ran away with...because she was in love with him. But, Humbert is still so protective of Lolita that he can't stand the idea of another man hurting her. Even though in his own sick way, Humbert has hurt Lolita himself. At the conclusion, Humbert makes some commentary about when he wants his memoir released as well as well his good wishes for Lolita and her marriage/pregnancy.
Weird, weird book. The man is clearly deranged and sick...and he knows it...again, weird. I know I say this every time I read a weird and/or disturbing book, but...it'll be a while before I read another.