Regular price: $17.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude", an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence. They disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.

©1935 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." (John Updike)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    37
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    8
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-28-12

Nabokov's Strange Violin Playing in the Void

Nabokov's violin playing in the void of a totalitarian nightmare. Invitation to a Beheading belongs in those 20th Century novels by Orwell, Huxley, Kafka and Koestler that explore the individual revolting against an absurd totalitarianism. Cincinnatus C is an opaque prisoner being punished by a translucent society for his gnostical turpitude. With a Gogol-like playfulness and a Kafkaesque absurdity and a linqusitic inventiveness that belongs solely to Nabokov,

'Invitation to a Beheading' explores the many ways the state (and society) acts to destroy or force conformity on those whose vision is different. Beware those who transgress social norms, your days are both numbered ... and infinite

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • JP
  • United States
  • 05-18-11

Great tale, poor narration voice.

The story itself is good. It is interesting and thought provoking. The narrators gravel voice distracts form the tale and was not pleasant. It was very difficult to get past this and get into the book. I would read the authors other books instead of listening to this narrator again.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • C
  • Chestnuthill, MA, United States
  • 09-09-11

I enjoyed it--but not for everyone

Narration--excellent. I've read several of his books and liked them all. This is an unconventional tale. If you like Kafka you'll like this.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

this novel was meant to be read aloud - great job

I couldn't stop listening to this rendering of Nabokovs best novel - IMO. I read this book in college while studying English literature. I was fascinated with the story and the exquisite prose. The narrator did a great job. I was uncertain whether I would enjoy listening to him at first, as his voice is a bit gravelly and didn't seem suites to the story. His voice quickly grew on me, however, as he read the somewhat challenging prose very much the way I heard it in my mind when I read it years ago. He did an exceptionally good job at bringing what I'll call the Frenchman in the in the neighboring cell- so as not to include a spoiler - to life for me in a new way. He also handled very well the sometimes complicated dialogue that goes on both within and around Cincinnatus. This is Nabokovs best work IMO and the narrator only added to the story. I'd recommend this book to any serious reader.