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Lolita | [Vladimir Nabokov]

Lolita

Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons portrayed this novel's nymphet-obsessed professor in a filmed adaptation, so it is not surprising he is able to negotiate Nabokov's dense, refined, and fiery prose with great facility. Irons' mastery reminds me of a conductor who studies a score for years and then knows inately how to communicate it to an audience, note-perfect from beginning to end. If you're looking for a fine example of great literature that comes across better in audio than it does on the printed page, you've found it. –Corey Thrasher

Publisher's Summary

When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause celebre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the 20th century's novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.

Awe and exhilaration, along with heartbreak and mordant wit, abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. But most of all, it is a meditation on love — as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

(P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Lolita is an authentic work of art which compels our immediate response and serious reflection, a revealing and indispensable comedy of horrors." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Language is essential to Lolita, and Mr. Irons captures Humbert's voice perfectly. In the Random House audiobook, he read the novel with a sensitivity to the language that conveys all of Nabokov's humor, passion, and lyricism." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (2802 )
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  •  
    Allison LINCOLN, NE, United States 06-26-13
    Allison LINCOLN, NE, United States 06-26-13 Member Since 2013

    I have a passion for all things science, music, and outdoors. I am also a "crazy dog lady."

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    "Wow."
    If you could sum up Lolita in three words, what would they be?

    Bold, disturbing, passionate.


    What does Jeremy Irons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I felt as if the book was being performed by the author.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many, but describing them would give away too much.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bridgett Gaines Sonoita, AZ USA 06-05-13
    Bridgett Gaines Sonoita, AZ USA 06-05-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Educational and disturbing"
    What did you like best about Lolita? What did you like least?

    I love Jeremy Irons narration, but the subject matter is very disturbing.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Vladimir Nabokov again?

    It depends on the subject.


    What about Jeremy Irons’s performance did you like?

    I loved the performance


    Do you think Lolita needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Honestly, I couldn't finish the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wesley Scott 06-03-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary!"
    Would you listen to Lolita again? Why?

    Absolutely. What an incredible performance by Jeremy Irons. The combination of Nabokov and Irons is genius. There are timed when this performance left me speechless and shaking my head in awe.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Humbert Humbert. Nabokov's prose is absolutely flawless. Irons brings him to life.


    What does Jeremy Irons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Irons' accent, tempo, rhythm, and pauses. Humbert Humbert comes alive. The arrogance, the passion, the selfishness, the desire, the disgust. Most outstanding. Simply brilliant. By far the best audiobook I have every heard. Hands down.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Hard to stop listening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn BREA, CA, United States 06-01-13
    Lynn BREA, CA, United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Interesting story that kept me intrigued"

    The story of Lolita is sad, complex, and tragic. The reading was a bit too dramatic at times, but the story was so fascinating that I was compelled to listen until the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 04-07-13
    Jeff Charlotte, N.C. 04-07-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Do Not Miss This Under Any Circumstance s"

    What can one say about this book, the writing, and the reader? Unlike anything I have heard before or ever expect to hear again. In short, a classic of the first order.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Schafer Mystic, CT 03-26-13
    J. Schafer Mystic, CT 03-26-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Grammy Winning Performance"
    What did you love best about Lolita?

    Jeremy Irons made this incredibly rich and complex story come to life. Without his narration, I would have never made it 15 minutes into this book. I loved how he really brought Humbert Humberto together. His flawless delivery of each word made this an easy complex book to listen to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Lolita?

    Whenever the main character became jealous, you good feel the rage through Jeremy Irons' delivery.


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Irons – was your favorite?

    The main character. As I said, flawless.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Jeremy Irons already portrayed the main character in the movie version. The tag line would be "You will understand at the end."


    Any additional comments?

    BEST BOOK I'VE HEARD ON AUDIBLE.COM. Unbelievable performance. Truly award winning in my opinion. You won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Los Angeles, CA 03-23-13
    Kevin Los Angeles, CA 03-23-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Amazing Performance"
    What about Jeremy Irons’s performance did you like?

    Irons's voice is perfectly fit for this story. His delivery truly brings out the chilling nature of the subject.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Had I had the time, there is a good chance I would have been able to listen in one sitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NobodyInParticular SEATTLE, WA, United States 03-19-13
    NobodyInParticular SEATTLE, WA, United States 03-19-13
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    "Nabokov's masterpiece read nearly perfectly"
    Would you listen to Lolita again? Why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Irons – was your favorite?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stan R. New Haven, Ct 03-18-13
    Stan R. New Haven, Ct 03-18-13
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    "Not what I expected"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M ASHBURN, VA, United States 11-21-12
    M ASHBURN, VA, United States 11-21-12
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    "Narrator brings Humbert to life"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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