The Real Lolita
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The Real Lolita : A Lost Girl, an Unthinkable Crime, and a Scandalous Masterpiece

3.41 (2,790 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

"The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov's masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness." --David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner's full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner's story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel's creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 135 x 201 x 23mm | 249g
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062661930
  • 9780062661937
  • 691,551

Back cover copy

In 1948, Sally Horner was just eleven years old when she was kidnapped by a man claiming to be an FBI agent. Seven years later, Vladimir Nabokov published Lolita, perhaps the most notorious novel of the twentieth century. Sarah Weinman's investigation into how the two are connected is a thrilling, heartbreaking mix of literary scholarship, true-crime writing, and expert storytelling.
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Review quote

"Superb. . . . Weinman has compassionately given Sally Horner pride of place once more in her own life, a life that was first brutally warped by Frank La Salle, and then appropriated by one of the most brilliant writers of the 20th century."--Washington Post
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Rating details

2,790 ratings
3.41 out of 5 stars
5 12% (346)
4 33% (922)
3 41% (1,143)
2 11% (314)
1 2% (65)
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