Harper Academic

The Real Lolita

The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World

by Sarah Weinman

On Sale: 09/11/2018

Price: $27.99

The Real Lolita

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The Real Lolita

The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World

by Sarah Weinman

On Sale: 09/11/2018

Format:

Price: $27.99

About the Book

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.

Critical Praise

“A riveting blend of true crime, historical investigation, and literary analysis, Sarah Weinman adds another dimension to this already complicated context.” - Buzzfeed

“In this stunning work of investigative journalism, Sarah Weinman resurrects the Horner case and uncovers its deep connection to Lolita.” - Refinery29

“Weinman’s gripping work of true crime challenges a culture that privileges artistic genius over a child’s life.” - Huffington Post

“Fascinating. . . . Weinman’s book works brilliantly as both detective narrative and cultural history. . . . She gives us brilliant insight into a tragic story, but also a nuanced, empathetic look at the young girl at its center.” - Nylon Magazine

“Gripping.” - Elle

“Weinman describes the heart-wrenching crime and shows how [Nabokov] quietly wove aspects of it into his famous Lolita.” - AARP Magazine

“Part true crime story, part literary mystery. . . . Gorgeously written, The Real Lolita reads like a novel and will thrill and captivate readers.” - Popsugar

“Sarah Weinman unearths the case of Sally Horner, a schoolgirl who was kidnapped in 1948. . . . Weinman argues that the road-trip and school details provided Nabokov with the scaffolding he needed to finish Lolita. . . . She’s essentially clinched the case.” - The Atlantic

“Weinman tells Sally’s tragic story as it has never been told before, with sensitivity and depth.” - Publishers Weekly

“A tantalizing, entertaining true-life detective and literary story.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Spine-straightening. . . . Weinman’s sensitive insights into Horner’s struggle play in stunning counterpoint to her illuminations of Nabokov’s dark obsession and literary daring, and Lolita’s explosive impact.” - Booklist

“Sarah Weinman delivers a thoroughly riveting and heartbreaking narrative that weaves the very best of true crime writing with the darker elements of literary inspiration.” - Gilbert King

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

“Sarah Weinman’s captivating, heart-rending The Real Lolita offers both nuanced and compassionate true-crime reportage and revelatory cultural and literary history. It will, quite simply, change the way you think about Lolita and ‘Lolitas’ forever.” - Megan Abbott

“Compassionate and necessary, Sarah Weinman’s The Real Lolita is more than a true-crime achievement. It’s a literary rescue mission, bringing to life the tragic real-life case that forms the dark heart of Nabokov’s classic. You’ll never read Lolita the same way again.” - Robert Kolker

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062661920
  • ISBN 10: 0062661922
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 09/11/2018
  • Trimsize: 5.500 in (w) x 8.250 in (h) x 1.050 in (d)
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price: $27.99
  • BISAC1: TRUE CRIME / Hoaxes & Deceptions
  • BISAC2: HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
  • BISAC3: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Literary