This is a profound work of literary fiction that gets to the (rotten?) heart of mid-20th century America. There are many layers of symbols and references to unpack - it makes me want to write an essay about the book and I haven't taken a college course in 20 years. The plot is not for the faint of heart or for the young, but Nabokov has complete mastery of the English language and of his characters, writing prose that often reads like poetry.
Irons's Humbert is spot-on and flawless. His portrayal of Dolores is not as strong: American ears can hear him straining to get the (American) accent right. His use of emotion and tone is precise and perfect, with Humbert's voice ranging from monstrous to sympathetic as required by the text. It is hard to imagine any actor who could be a better choice.
Growing up, Lolita was always one of those "taboo" books. After listening, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. No swear words at all. Very well read. Not about a sexy young thing throwing herself around. Not really any sex in the book at all. I would recommend this to anyone willing to see a different point of view.
First, let me say that Jeremy Irons is an absolutely AMAZING narrator! The life and emotion he gave to the perfomance was outstanding. It was like he was talking to you, not reading a book. His speed varied, his inflection was perfect and, of course, his accent is perfect. Even though the subject matter is absolutely disgusting he brought a life to this classic that enthralled me.
The story is told by Humbert Humbert'- a frustrated pedophile who finally has an opportunity to act on his impulses with Lolita, his landlady's 12 year old daughter. The man is despicable and awful and sick. I cringed as I listened to some of the passages. But the writing was so beautiful and astonishingly rich, it made up for the terrible events described in the book.
I can't say enough good things about the way Jeremy Irons narrated this audiobook. In fact, I think the book would have been vastly less engaging for me if I had read it myself.
Irons embodied the pedophile's character so convincingly, I'm not sure I will ever be able to watch him in another movie without thinking of Humbert Humbert.
I just finished Lolita for the third time and I feel I cannot justly rate this book. The prose is wonderful, but I am left with an emptiness and sadness mixed with a great load of revulsion. Do I feel sorry for Humbert? or do I hate him? Is Lolita at all to be blamed or pitied? Lolita evokes in me so many strong and conflicting emotions that leave me in a state of bewilderment without a settled opinion.
As to the narration, Irons IS Humbert. Which better voice than his; so grave and soft for such a deliciously disturbing prose.
This reading is fantastic, Jeremy Irons really uses Nabokov's writing (which is, as always splendid) to its fullest extent and makes you connect to the characters. You can feel his emotion and it is riveting.
I would recommend this audio book over all others, truly the best I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
I have listened to it twice. HH's ramblings are fun to listen to.
Humbert Humbert's early memories. I was touched for him.
He WAS Humbert Humbert. I love Jeremy Irons, anyway.
I brought this up earlier.
The incomparable writing. Nabokov at his best.
Humbert Humbert, of course. Are there other characters?
Jeremy Irons' reading of Lolita is a completely new and heady experience of the novel, which I've read many times. He raises the poetry to an extraordinary level.
It made me shiver. I can't think of another novel where the content offends me but the writing is so extraordinary that I've read it again and again.
I liked it so much that I gave it as a gift to a fellow Nabokov fan.
Disturbing, incredible, self-deprecating
The most memorable moment for me was when the protagonist first described his ideal victim. The level of innocence and beauty described, and then twisted with his dark intentions and desires.
Jeremy Irons brought to this audio book an incredible timbre and cadence that speaks of mastery. His ability to draw me in, made it possible for me to believe that this monster is charming and endearing while nonchalantly slipping the noose around your neck to defile that you hold dear.
Inside the mind of the wolf in sheep's clothing.
I'll listen to anything else Jeremy Irons reads. Also I understand why so many of the best contemporary authors list this work among their influences.
Nabokov's writing style. It's amazing how he can write about a subject so creepy and socially unacceptable and turn it into a moving piece of art. His description, metaphors, and style are amazing.
Humbert Humbert metaphor of himself as a spider as he checks to see where Lolita is in the house.
Humbert Humbert. Jeremy Irons did an amazing job!