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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.

Critic Reviews

"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)
"Jeremy Irons...commands the text with the grand sense of character and palpable eroticism it requires.... The combination of Nabokov’s prose and Irons’s performance carries listeners out of a seat of judgment into Humbert’s pure admiration for and desire to possess that archetypical fire-energy of a young girl. This horrifyingly beautiful story of wild obsession truly comes alive in this audiobook production." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,641
  • 4 Stars
    1,330
  • 3 Stars
    558
  • 2 Stars
    206
  • 1 Stars
    165

Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,883
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    538
  • 3 Stars
    198
  • 2 Stars
    65
  • 1 Stars
    73

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,785
  • 4 Stars
    1,084
  • 3 Stars
    510
  • 2 Stars
    201
  • 1 Stars
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A exceptional work of modern prose/poetry

What was one of the most memorable moments of Lolita?

The drowning of Lolita's mother.

What about Jeremy Irons’s performance did you like?

Perfect pitch. Flawless.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Every time I read or listen to this book I'm captivated by Nabokov's eloquence.

Any additional comments?

Despite preconceptions you may have about the subject matter of this book, it is not the least pornographic. Nothing to furtively underline here, folks.... Nabokov is unsurpassed stylistically, and here he uses his prodigious technique to plumb the depths of the sociopath HH. Don't shy away from this one just because you abhor pedophilia.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

First rate reading by Irons

Irons is impressive here, reprising his role in the movie version of this classic.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anne
  • Long Beach, CA, USA
  • 03-25-07

incredible read

I had never read Lolita in college, but was intrigued by Jeremy Irons' narration, and decided to download this book. It was just incredible- he does a magnificent job of this book ... it is such a fascinating story of a child predator, and HH's torment is apparent. Very thought-provoking. Highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So Good

I read (and listen to) a lot of different types of books and sometimes forget how talented some authors can be. (I’m not sure if that’s grammatically correct, but I’m not one of these great authors) Lolita is a book that makes you stop and realize just how beautiful the language can be. The narration adds to the experience. If you’re looking to go back to a classic for your next download, this will not disappoint.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Redemption Lost

This book builds slowly and subtlety from the diary of a 40-year old sophisticated, intelligent European man, who finds, isolates, and abuses a 12-year old American girl, to an emotionally intense, regretful, despairing self-criticism of his actions. I listened to this book twice, to completely understand the plot, the appearance of another older man, the second motor trip to the west, Lolita’s escape, the meeting two years later, when Lolita is 17, and the death of Humbert Humbert, Clare Quilte, and Dolores Schiller. Vladimir Nabokov’s prose is excruciatingly articulate – speaking of the world of total evil, being drunk on the impossible past, looking for the evidence of a supreme being in the darkness of his own sin, and H.H.’s thoughts, evoked by looking down on a town in the mountains where only the sound of children playing can be heard. The author’s own thought are difficult to discern and this makes reading Lolita a test of your own attitude about the plot. H.H., however, considers himself to be a monster who was cheated of his only chance at redemption when Clare Quilte helped Lolita escape from him. Only when the harm has been done, does he realize that he loves the child and even the dead-leaf echo of that nymphet at age 17.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A sad, sad book

I just don't know what to rate this book. As far as the writing itself, it was beautifully written. But the story, frankly, made me a little sick to my stomach. It is the story of a pedophile who is so crazy about this 12 year old girl that he marries her mother so he can have access to her. You start to believe that Lolita welcomes this until she gets a good chance to run away, and then she is gone. By then she is more like 16 or 17. Well this man is certifiably crazy, although he puts on a great exterior. He is educated, handsome, extremely polite and thoughtful. In short, someone who would be attractive to most women, and certainly to young girls. My heart just breaks for Lolita, whose real name is Dolores. He just starts calling her Lolita. It somehow evolves from her nickname of "Lo" into the more seductive sounding Lolita. What she must have gone through!!

Now with that said, I come back to the writing itself. Yes it is beautiful. It is even tastefully done. There are no graphic details other than a kiss, but of course it is extremely suggestive. It seems to me that it takes a lot more skill to suggest what is going on than it does to spell it all out. This book is tastefully written. I guess my heart breaks for Humbert as well. It is truly a sad, sad book. Haven't had something affect me like this since "Tess of the d'Urbervilles." I don't recommend either book, btw, not unless you are into heavy, sad but beautifully written books. I think I have to give this book three stars, sort of in the middle of things, because I sit the fence on it. I can't say that I'm sorry I read it, but it makes me sick to think about it very much.

I am sure one of the reasons I continued with this book is Jeremy Irons' narration. He is, as you would expect, a fabulous narrator. It is easy to fall in love with him. So, fabulous writing, fabulous narration, but sad story equals at the very least an interesting book. I know I should give it a five if I were true to my formula which is, if a book changes my life, it is an automatic 5, even if I didn't like it so much. But something just prevents me from doing that. I will always remember this book, but I will never read it again.

55 of 69 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amie
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • 10-16-05

H.H.'s Passion

Reader captures all of the feeling and wit of Nabokov's writing. A wonderful book, and a great listen. Captivating all the way through.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Karie A
  • Long Beach, CA United States
  • 06-24-15

A classic worth skipping

I enjoyed the writing style but the story was very sickening and I had to walk away from it a few times. I'm just not into the idea of old men fantasizing and acting out their sexual exploits on little girls. It wasn't as detailed but still hard to read.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I expected more

Is unlistenable a word? That was my experience. I regret buying it and hope I can trade it for something else.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Classic

Ver good book! Scary and rather sick, but beautifully written. A book one should read before their clock runs out of battery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful