Thoughts of an Author in Training
This book has been collecting dust on my shelves for many years. It’s been packed and moved with me three different times since I received this book as a gift from one of my peers. Classic? According to the fact that it’s been fifty-years since the original publication, it’s well recognized from the title alone, and that Nabokov is an infamous writer, than yes this is a classic.
Timeless? I would have to disagree. I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to digest the meaning and interpretations of this book. I struggled to dive in to the story purely on its elaborate and beautiful prose alone. The elaborate language and finely tuned focus on the imagery, I feel is preserved in the time that it was written. The language is dated and not that this is a bad thing, I just have to admit that the prose were above my own personal comprehension. This meant that my attention was demanded constantly for the full 310 pages. Frankly I couldn’t keep my eyes glued to the pages for the time that it demanded and this is why it took me years to finish. Picking up and then forgetting, having to re-read or even start over was frustrating.
It’s certainly not the type of book to just tell it like it is. After all it is a defense of one man’s insatiable love which drives him to murder. That in itself can’t be a simple story. Love is complicated. Especially when the lover is thirteen and kind of your step daughter.
This book outlines a forbidden love I had never considered and for that I shouldn’t dismiss its presence in the literary world. The author truthfully and yet tastefully allows a view in to the mind of a pedophilia. Despite all assumptions of the title as a pedophilia, the book reorganized my thoughts on the power of lust. As humans we’re powerless at times to our own desire. Humbert Humbert at one point was a victim to his desires for the prepubescent nymphet, but his passion for the young Delores Haze consumed his distasteful thoughts and left him with a true sense of love. A little twisted than the average love story, Nabokov created a loving relationship in which Humbert’s affections were sorely reciprocated. Dolores grows up and runs away to leave Humbert to the clutches of his loneliness against love. Though unique in its own way, the book is surprisingly familiar in retrospect to the greater themes of love.
I can’t say I would recommend this book, but I am glad to have read it.
I recognize this has been a classic since it’s publication in 2002 but I’m just now getting the free time to read the classics. I was warned preemptively about the emotionally intensity this book would carry but it still didn’t prepare me for the pain and sadness this book discusses. For being fiction, it felt all too real and developed which is in thanks to the authors skill. My personal attraction in turning the pages was the development of the heaven in which Sebold invested our attention to. As the reader tried to accept the horrible fate the protagonist was destined for, Suzie’s heaven was a relief to the imaginations of our mind. There was a great deal of comfort in the creative aspect of what heaven looked like in this book, but it wasn’t any obvious attempt in suggesting that there is a specific heaven and hell. The use of the author’s phrase “my heaven” was perfect in drawing upon greater themes of death, grief, regret and pain without having to authorize a specific religion’s sanctuary after death. It didn’t address that one is either qualified for or denied heaven either.
I couldn’t resist turning the pages as Alice’s prose crafted the images and feelings so perfectly. Her use of smells and sounds, while having an omniscient narrator left nothing out of such a complicated story. From page one with the snowman trapped in a perfect world, to the more difficult imagery, “At fourteen my sister sailed away from me into a place I’d never been. In the walls of my sex there was horror and blood, in the walls of hers there were windows,” (125) I couldn’t escape the beauty of her words.
I enjoyed this book very much and couldn’t help but rush to my own notebook to write after being swayed with such ease by this authors work.
I feel like it’s cheating to count trilogies individually, but the books were quite long so the three books will count in to my February challenge. So the series began with Divergent, followed by Insurgent, and ending with Allegiant. I engaged in the series originally because my bestie and I are very much invested in dystopian novels and the underdog story. We were also influenced by the movie preview when we went to see the Hunger Games Catching Fire.
Suzanne Roth did a phenomenal job with her grand idea for a story. I think what was most intriguing for me was the effort to create a utopian society, that eventually became a dystopian society. She was trying to create a utopian world in which the values of the human race would be upheld. Those values being power, knowledge, peace, selflessness, and truth. Which all of us can recognize as beautiful ideas, but as you see in the book they are values that seem impossible for humans to uphold. Roth’s solution are factions separate to represent each value that work together ideally to maintain order. The idea of a perfect society is what drew me in initially, but the characters were well constructed to fit what I needed in order to grab hold of the story. Trice being the impulsive and powerful female role, plays my favorite archetype as the underdog who saves the world and falls in love under the most dramatic circumstances. Four, the powerful but family broken solider breaks in to the scene in order to balance out Trice’s dangerous and sometimes dramatic lifestyle. Roth does a great job at introducing the ideas and creating the characters.
I have to say I’m a little disappointed that the idea became a trilogy. The first book is wonderfully written and passionately thought out. The second book however, drowned on for far too long in my opinion exposing a grand truth in the last ten pages that I believe should have began the second book instead of ending it. Therefore the second book could have been a reaction and the third book could have been a resolution. I do recommend reading the whole series because otherwise you’re left incomplete with what starts off as a really great plot. Hats off to Roth for the bold ending that I could foresee but didn’t think she had the boldness to go through with. My only sadness is that I felt the trilogy could have been finely tuned and condensed. It almost felt forced that it was a trilogy when the beauty of the story could have been portrayed in two books quite well.