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Lolita: The Hottest Book Of The Era
(Vladimir Nabokov)

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Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, first published in 1955. The novel is both famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject; the book's narrator and main character, Humbert Humbert, a pedophile who becomes sexually obsessed with a pubescent girl. The novel was adapted to film twice, once in 1962 by Stanley Kubrick (Nabokov was involved in the writing) and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne.

Plot:
A scholar, Humbert leaves Europe for the United States and moves into a rented room in the home of Charlotte Haze, after seeing her twelve-year-old daughter (Dolores Haze, affectionately shortened to Lo, or Lolita) sunbathing in the garden. Humbert, who has had a lifelong passion for "nymphets" (attractive pubescent girls) - as a pre-adolescent, he experienced the loss of his childhood sweetheart to tuberculosis - is instantly smitten, and will do anything to be near her. The elder Haze, a lonely widow, becomes Humbert's unwitting pawn in his silent quest to be near her young daughter. She and Humbert soon marry. Some time later, while searching Humbert's room, she finds his diary, containing written confessions of indifference to his new wife and impassioned lust for her daughter. In disgust, she plans to flee her home with her daughter, whom she will send to a boarding school and beyond Humbert's reach. She writes three letters to settle some business before her departure, and in her mad hurry to mail the letters, she is hit and killed by a passing car.
Humbert begins traveling around the United States, from one motel to another, in the company of Lolita, with whom he is now having a sexual relationship. This relationship ends when a rival adult suitor, playwright Clare Quilty, convinces Lolita to leave Humbert and run away with him.
In the dry years that follow, Humbert has arguably his first "normal" love-affair, with an alcoholic named Rita. But this period comes to a sudden end when Humbert is contacted by the now 17-year-old Lolita, who needs cash. Humbert tracks her down and finds her married to an incidental husband and visibly pregnant. He had intended to kill her husband, but on meeting him realises this is not the character Lo had been seeing during their travels years ago. He persuades Lo to reveal the name of the mystery man and she eventually does so. Humbert gives Lo US$4,000, thus allowing her to go to Alaska with her husband. Humbert realizes that he still wants her: she is no longer one of those compelling young girls he refers to as "nymphets", but he has truly fallen in love with her. However, Lolita does not return his love. After finding this out Humbert goes to track down Quilty and kills him. Humbert dies in prison of coronary thrombosis after dictating the story to his lawyer.
It is not until near the end of the book, where, in a letter, Lolita requests money from Humbert, that the reader learns that the Mrs. Richard Schiller mentioned in the foreword was Lolita, who died on Christmas Eve giving birth to a stillborn daughter "in the remotest Northwest."



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