Your audiobook is waiting…

Lolita

Narrated by: Jeremy Irons
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: Classics, World Literature
4.5 out of 5 stars (8,140 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

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

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,151
  • 4 Stars
    1,779
  • 3 Stars
    717
  • 2 Stars
    266
  • 1 Stars
    227

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5,649
  • 4 Stars
    754
  • 3 Stars
    247
  • 2 Stars
    86
  • 1 Stars
    107

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,093
  • 4 Stars
    1,493
  • 3 Stars
    723
  • 2 Stars
    273
  • 1 Stars
    220
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Surprising good reading

This book's subject matter is admitedly an unsavory one to most, however, it is considered in some circles to be a "classic" work and so I resigned myself to reading it. I am glad that I did. I was surprised at how completely I was drawn into the story. This book is very well written and deserving of the serious reader's consideration.

44 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim
  • Bellingham, WA, USA
  • 10-26-05

An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience

I have tried to read LOLITA on several occassions, but for whatever reason--probably the dull, midwest monotony of my internal reading voice--have put the book down. I purchased LOLITA (read by Jeremy Irons) with a sense of trepidation (had I just bought something I would never finish?) The book is as impressive as the critics will tell you. Nabokov's language, his ability to fully render a scene, his mind-boggling vocabularly, and his characters--those desperate and beautiful and horrible creatures--are like nothing else in the canon of fiction. Add to this the luxurious experience of Jeremy Irons' voice and you end up with a book--a reading--that will make you shake your head in awe.

154 of 159 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Nabokov Narrated with Subtlety

This audiobook is completely sustained by the superb and finely attuned narration of Jeremy Irons. While Lolita is and remains a classic of 20th Century literature, this production will allow you to see [hear] a completely new perspective. Irons takes you completely inside the mind of Humbert Humbert, and with skill and subtlety makes you loathe him and sympathize with him at the same time. His tremulous and unspeakable desire mixed with his engulfing shame, his cowardice and his bravery standing side by side, his disregard of social norms tempered by his utter need for secrecy -- all of these conflicts are roiling beneath the surface of the story as it unfolds. This is a performance that only the finest of actors could pull off.

48 of 49 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece

It took me a long time to convince myself to "read" this disturbing book, and as soon as I finished the audiobook I went out and bought myself a print version. This book is written with a mastery of language and a chilling insight into the depths of the human soul that make it a true masterpiece. And the narration... If ever there was a perfect match between book and reader, this is it.

All I can say is: Get this book. You won't regret it.

70 of 72 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfection.

I find it difficult to believe that any person could give Lolita less than five stars, and the audio performance by Jeremy Irons is beyond masterful. Yes, this is a disturbing book - it is meant to be. Is it pro-pedophilia? Emphatically not. Any person who sticks with the book to the very bitter end comes to realize the true theme of Lolita, and feels the sadness of a lost chance at redemption.

In my opinion, there has never been a more beautiful, touching, shocking, and profound work of fiction than Lolita. Jeremy Irons as the narrator is just the icing on the cake.

58 of 60 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Debra
  • The Woodlands, TX, USA
  • 06-22-06

Disturbing but beautiful

There is really nothing to add to all the wonderful reviews that have been written about this story and it's masterful narration. It is well worth the time to listen. My heart broke a million times over for little Dolores and I was shocked by how much sympathy I felt for the monster Humbert Humbert by the end of the story.
Jeremy Irons is a masterful narrator. I loved every second of it. Even when I wanted to choke HH.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Incandescent

Nabokov's masterpiece, Lolita, is wistful, erotic, funny, sad, elegiac. Although it is about the passion of an adult male for a female child, it is, at its heart, a heartbreaking love story. With his glorious words (and wordplay), Nabokov paints portraits of his characters and their different longings and pain that are so real and so sympathetic, one is left breathless.

Jeremy Irons, who was a brilliant Humbert in Adrian Lyne's movie, reads this book into your ear as if he is sitting beside you, wanting more than anything to make you understand how it all happened.

Lolita is a work of art on the printed page, and also as an audiobook. But don't listen in traffic -- it deserves the listener's rapt, undivided attention.

43 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Deborah
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 10-31-06

FANTASTIC

This was the best audible book I ever listened to. The narrator was the best. I enjoyed the story so much. I listened to it twice. Don't skip this one.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

#1

Some narrators read a book. However, this one is done with such great passion that I rank it as one of the top five, if not the top #1 for best narration. Though I feel that a book can do little to shock me, somewhat because of modern times and somewhat because I'm a morbid person... this book got under my skin and terrified me in ways that I don't think Stephen King could even touch on. Taking place some sixty years ago... I did not expect it to be as potent today as it might have been back then, but the writing is so good that this is a classic for a reason. Definitely a timeless book. The narrator is what makes it though.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A unique (hopefully) perspective

I chose this book from a list of top 100 fiction books, laughingly thinking it might be a cross between Dr. Suess's "Oh, the Places You'll Go" and "Fifty Shades of Grey". Ha.

The main character is a pedophile. I have never been a pedophile, and as an over 50 year old female, I am not likely to be one. He feels jealousy, lust, happiness, satisfaction, etc. like we all do. What is profoundly different is the cause of these emotions. He is personally insulted by the ravages of aging, but specifically the aging of girls from about 8 to about the mid-teens. He is annoyed, in a big and petulant way, by the details - plucked eyebrows, big hips, new ears (new ears? I never noticed that).

The descriptions of the annoyances are vast and poetic and continual - brown leaves choking a brook, one last cricket in a crisp woods, conjuring death as simple as a bit dry wood, the faint leaf echo on the bank of a russet ravine, a nondescript air with a shaggy belly, eyes slit in a muddy void, ruined looks hopelessly worn out at 17, etc. His exasperations are as relentless as aging itself. The story has descriptions of his attractions, but I was more affected by the exacting details of what not only didn't attract him, but definitely and completely repulsed him, thus dooming his hopes (and his soul) eternally.

Surely greater minds than mine know the source of this story, but suffice it to say I don't think you can make this stuff up. Someone was well and truly peeved by puberty. I didn't expect that. I expected horrors but, in what is probably true to the pedophile, the horrors are his, not the victims. That is horrible, but the book is not. The book belongs on the 100 top books, but I am not sure it is fiction.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful