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Lolita Audiobook

Lolita

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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 innately 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

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  •  
    Charles 01-01-16
    Charles 01-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Could not finish"

    Strange and very uncomfortable to listen to. Maybe I needed to listen longer, but the general concept was just creepy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    BMR 12-27-15
    BMR 12-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Masterful performance"

    Superb, seductive, enchanting telling. Bought on a whim due to a sale, a classic to read- so glad I did!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Johnson SF Bay Area, USA 12-25-15
    Charles Johnson SF Bay Area, USA 12-25-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Irons is amazing"

    Irons' performance is amazing. He captures the dark humor of Nabokov's villain Humbert Humbert, the sometimes hilarious depths of his delusions, makes him human, and pitiable, and terrifying, and oh so much more monstrous in the result.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick 12-20-15
    Nick 12-20-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Beautifully composed, masterfully delivered"

    Lolita is simply incomparable. The plot is shocking, yes, but utterly captivating. I have never come across an author with such talent for prose, with such a reliable ability to find and employ the mot juste. Nabokov's use of literary device, on every level, is beautiful and poignant, and the novel stretches to its absolute limit the ability of text, as a medium, to convey and compel emotion.

    No less worthy of praise here is Jeremy Irons. Once you have finished this version of the novel, to imagine any voice but his as belonging to Humbert Humbert (the narrator) will be impossible. Not only does Irons reflect with perfect accuracy the struggle and anguish Humbert Humbert confronts, but he delivers with dexterity the wordplay that runs through the narrative. Even now, having finished the novel twice already, I find myself going back to it, to pass the time on long car rides, send me to sleep at night, or ease the discomfort of traveling across the country by plane - so lyrically euphonious is his delivery.

    The question of the novel's subject should not enter the conversation regarding the novel's merits; at least, not as an argument against them. Certainly, there are people who will not be able to enjoy Lolita, and that is entirely fair on their part. Do not buy this book if you feel you are likely to be offended or traumatized. But as a work of art, Lolita stands on its own. Its strength and reputation are based on the skill of its author and the quality of his composition, not on its capacity to titillate the reader. It is not pornographic.

    Lolita does have its flaws. In some ways, plot takes a backseat to prose, and the reader may find characters other than the narrator to be one-dimensional - though this is probably intentional, an illustration of Humbert Humbert's "solipsizing" (Nabokov's word) them. Different parts of the novel offer sharply different tones. The pace is uneven at times, and the story's conclusion felt rushed, at least to me. These flaws are far obscured, however, by the novel's merits, and Lolita is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolina Walter 12-10-15 Member Since 2015

    selfhelp book-eater.I love comedy, to cook and bake, dogs and gardening.

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    "I loved to hate it"

    Ok, obviously it's a disgusting topic, but I loved to hate it. Just like if you see Jack Gleeson ( plays Joffrey Baratheon in GOT ) on the streets you would feel like punching him in the face, not because he is a bad actor but because he is a good actor and plays a whiny asshole brilliantly.
    I felt curiosity, repulsion, compassion, indignation and sadness for every character of this book; Navokov portraits them with many layers, that makes it feel more real.
    The narrator is really good.
    English is not my 1st language, but in my opinion I think it's advanced. For me it was a bit hard for me to follow, I had to re listen several times, although I have to say that it was beautifully written almost poetic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    stuart hamilton Penfiled, ny United States 12-04-15
    stuart hamilton Penfiled, ny United States 12-04-15
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    "strong narration."

    still disturbing. I feel this book goes on a little long and becomes a little unbelievable. hard to listen to at certain times. a portrait of evil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    RI in Canada 12-03-15
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    "Lolita is magic"

    Lolita is beautiful, charming, lyrical. It pirouettes and gambols across the United States -- a road trip of ennui infused with the perverse desire of Humbert Humbert for his 13 year-old love. The book is magical in expressing his self-loathing and his powerful lust, at once disturbing and intoxicating. I started this book years ago for a contemporary American Lit course at university, but I didn't finish it. This time, I could not help but finish it. At various points, I felt dirty just for continuing, but compelled like the narrator, to carry on. It amounts to an awesome literary achievement.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John Z. 11-24-15
    John Z. 11-24-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderful."

    How do I start? If you've ever stayed away from this because of the subject matter, you're doing yourself a disservice. Nabokov's prose is simply masterful - unmatched by any I've ever read before in my life (in a sort of humorous way, he brags about it on the very first page of the book). His command of the English language has reminded me why I enjoy literature so much, and how amazing language can be - how it can evoke so much feeling within a reader.

    In many ways this is a love story, though certainly not any that should give credit to H.H.'s actions. It serves to elucidate the differences in how men and women experience love. As a man it is painfully aware to you that no woman will ever feel for you the obsessive, physical adoration that you might feel for her. Men, in their poetry and literature, scan the female form top to toe and adore every feature. Men have made even mundane things like dimples, feet, and lower part of the neck into erotic objects. Even ugly little constellations of blackheads or other physical impurities are forgiven or loved by men in certain poems.

    No woman has or ever will love and forgive with such intensity. Women expect to be placated and seduced. They expect men to disguise themselves and make exaggerated performances. The quality of the performance is what is judged, not the quality of the man. A failed performance arouses complete contempt in women.

    They aren't like men, who see weakness and love or appreciate it - who see some token of themselves and of humanity in it. Women hate weakness because weakness is useless to them.

    In the end, a man realizes that no woman will ever love him the way he loves her, a theme ever-present in this book, even given the misguided source from which H.H. derives this feeling.

    Simply wonderful. This book, alone, has in it the ability to sustain my love of reading for a lifetime in the hopes that I might one day have even the slimmest of chances to be delighted with such wordsmithery again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    dbotello 11-23-15
    dbotello 11-23-15 Member Since 2016
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    "A beautifully written, elegantly performed drama"

    The writing is so poetic and descriptive. It turns a tragic story into a beautifully written and well versed experience. The excellent reader is the same as the actor in the film, so his voice brings the book to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Think about this 11-17-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Jeremy Irons brings the book to life"

    Absolutely beautifully read, I still am in awe of how such a repulsive character can be the center of this fascinating work of art. This book is definitely what an audio book should be, where the prose is like poetry and the reader performs rather than reads.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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