Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £18.99

Buy Now for £18.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

The same man who carried off this most challenging of anti-heroes with aplomb in the controversial Kubrick film adaptation, Jeremy Irons' narration of this timeless classic retains all the dignity and skill of his original performance.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of my tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

Savagely funny and hauntingly sad, Lolita is Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel. It is the story of tortured college professor Humbert Humbert and his dangerous obsession with honey-skinned schoolgirl Dolores Haze.

Determined to possess his "Lolita", Humbert embarks on a disastrous journey across an American landscape littered with fast-food diners, gas stations and lonely motels. Brilliantly evocative and bitingly satirical in its depiction of postwar America, Lolita still has the power to shock and beguile.

©1955 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2005 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Lolita

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,315
  • 4 Stars
    396
  • 3 Stars
    130
  • 2 Stars
    47
  • 1 Stars
    35
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,424
  • 4 Stars
    161
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    10
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,066
  • 4 Stars
    348
  • 3 Stars
    148
  • 2 Stars
    53
  • 1 Stars
    30

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a truly spellbinding and brilliant book

Nabokov is a truly great writer (a Nobel prize winner I think); only a great writer could take such a potentially tawdry subject - a middle aged man's obsession with and sexual exploitation of a 12-year old girl - and turn it into a compelling story of the complexity of human relationships without glossing over the darkness, the emptiness and the pain. And the combination of Nabokov's brilliantly fluent and poetical prose and Jeremy Irons' superb narration is such an intoxicating mix - an outstanding audiobook by any yardstick. Superb stuff indeed. I've listened to around 500 audiobooks over the last 15 years and this must be one of the best. Strongly recommended. A genuine 5-star listen.

46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Great book and beautifully narrated by Jeremy Irons. The most pleasant surprise yet on Audible. Fantastic!!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Disturbing, dark and (occasionally) funny(!)

This is the best audiobook I have heard. The delivery is stunning, always on cue and appropriate and really sinks you into the story and the very disturbing mind of HH. Audiobooks of this quality are far better than reading and are more a one person performance than a book reading.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating - audio at its best!

This book makes the best of audio: I found myself completely wrapped up in it. Read perfectly by Jeremy Irons, the novel is thrilling, beautiful and shocking all at the same time. It is wonderfully written and Irons voices the language with accomplished skill. Given the subject matter (an exploitative and abusive relationship between a middle-aged man and an attention-seeking young girl), I was surprised at how funny and touching the novel was, and how much I didn't want it to end. Nabokov manages to captivate without titillating, and brings you into his character's mind without ever condoning what he does. This is one that I'll be listening to - and reading - again and again.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This book is fantastic. It is written as the confessions of one Humbert Humbert (not his real name) with regards to his relationship with his young step-daughter after the mothers untimely death. This disturbing subject matter is beautifully crafted into a story that is heart-breaking for it's insight into the delusional self-justification of Humbert and the consequence of his actions, whilst at the same time having moments of genuine humour. This dark humour is kept suitably distant from the obscenity of his conduct such that one does not feel guilty for finding mirth amongst such a troubling subject. There is nothing gratuitous in this book and it is a testament to the authors great skill that he can capture so many varied emotions between its covers.

Jeremy Irons' gravelly, plumby, british accent does a fantastic job of Humbert Humberts narrative and in my mind, has set up a dubious association with the great actor for many years to come!

20 people found this helpful

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

Mesmerizing narration!

Over half a century on from its initial publication, this book still remains disturbing and shocking!

Universally accepted as a modern classic, it is described as a tragic comedy. However, don't expect any laughs. The author creates a truly detestable anti hero who's relationship with the eponymous Lolita should leave no place for any emotion except revulsion. That you do feel empathy for him, towards the end of the book, is something that you may not thank the author for.

The book is written in a self-consciously literary style. There is subtle word play and considerable use of French phrases and language which are impossible to fully appreciate in a rapid audio format. The plot is easily followed but feels contrived; with a final conclusion that I found unrealistic and a slight afterthought.

Narration in this work is simply mesmerizing. Jeremy Irons gives a performance which is both urbane, educated and monstrous all at the same time. Igore his portrayal of peripheral characters, it is in his depiction of the central protagonist that his liquid voice resonates love, desolation and madness.

This is not an easy audiobook to listen to. The subject matter is revolting. Linguistically, the book is knowingly high brow. There are sections of it written in French, which receive no translation!

This is a clsssic though. It comes alive through Iron's haunting voice and will stay with the listener many weeks after.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly gripping

This novel stands or falls with the voice you imagine (or hear) as the central character Humbert Humbert. To hear Jeremy Irons bring H.H. to life, in all his preposterous longing, his self-deception, his erudition and cunning, his Old World debauchery and his scepticism towards the popular culture of postwar America, is utterly delightful. I found myself grinning, raising my eyebrows and laughing out loud. Irons' interpretation contributes a great deal to making this a provocative, hilarious and utterly perturbing experience. We are appalled by this character and yet we want to follow him every step of the way; we shouldn't want to read about a middle-aged man longing for a twelve-year-old, and yet we're fascinated by every sentence, complicit in every move. An absolute masterpiece, and a masterly reading. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Have Moral Patience

Thank you Jeremy Irons, Humbert Humbert's voice will always be yours. As the Father of three girls aged between 8 and 15 my listening was very uncomfortable to the half way mark. The writings beauty kept me listening.Slowly the message of the book grew its root structure into my understanding, untill it was fused into my mind. The Nabokov mind had investigated every aspect and drew its consequences so clearly that the colour of the crime was as bright as the blood on Quiltys lips. Its consequences on all the characters was as glass. A wonderful, chilling and throughly suitable book for the modern age.

11 people found this helpful

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

Lolita Review

I struggled with this novel. Yes, I was aware going into this novel what it was about, but it doesn’t prepare you for what’s ahead, and I think if I hadn’t listened to Jeremy Irons fantastic performance in the audible version of this book, I think I might have DNF’d it. Not because it’s a bad book; it just made me feel uncomfortable while reading it.

The book is well-written, but the characters are all terrible. The mother is dreadful and verges on being neurotic. Humbert is a vile man who tries to excuse his perverted behaviour. Lolita is over-sexualised that uses her power over Humbert to get what she wants. But is that truly the case? After all, this is Humbert’s story from his perspective, so in reality, we don’t know anything about the other characters other than what Humbert wants us to know wants us to feel about them. This reminds me of a book I read earlier this year called My Lovely Wife By Samantha Downing. We only know what he wants us to know. So, in reality, we don’t know what the mother or Lolita is really like and I find that maddening.

This is very much a classic. But it’s not a book I would want to read again. I give this book a 6/10.

4 people found this helpful

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

Classic book or mind of a sociopath

Decided to try this as it's one of those classics I had down to read in my lifetime.

The material is rather disturbing but the writing is exquisite.
I am not a literary buff but the prose and verse are beautiful if somewhat odd, as this paedophile describes his obsession and love of Lolita.

At times you are lulled into the thoughts that this a beautiful tender love affair, but then you are brought back to the horrifying truth that this is a child he is talking about, and then feel rather sick.

"Bon courage mon amis" if you plan to read/listen to this.




Jeremy Irons narrates well

4 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jefferson
  • Jefferson
  • 08-04-11

Disturbingly Wonderful

Dear reader, listening to this audiobook version of Lolita was a fascinating experience: beautiful and poisonous, loving and loathing, sad and funny, sublime and debased, pure and rotten, refined and vulgar, European and American. The premise, a middle-aged man who is a connoisseur of "nymphets" (pre-pubescent girls with a seemingly "demoniac" and "soul-shattering charm") becomes the step-father of one, may shock or repulse. But Nabokov is unsettlingly effective at making us sympathize with his first-person narrator, Humbert Humbert. The novel is also interesting for being comprised of skewed pieces of various genres: buddy-road-adventure, romance, erotic, metafiction, tragedy, and European critique of America.

There is some French in the novel, but usually the context implies what Humbert is saying.

Jeremy Irons expresses his thorough understanding of Nabokov's novel throughout his reading of it. From the opening foreword by the outrageously pedantic American Dr. John Ray, Jr., followed immediately by the creepy sensual beauty of the opening lines of Humbert's story ("Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta" etc.), Irons' voice helps to seduce the reader more and more into Humbert's head and heart and world than the text does alone. He really becomes Humbert in his various moods, including poetic ecstasy, peevish anger, guilty despair, surreal delirium, and philosophic acceptance. It was a pleasure to hear him speaking in Lolita's vulgar American pre-teen voice one moment and in Humbert's world-weary European aesthete's the next. He also does a fine job with the other supporting characters, like Clare Quilty the amoral and successful playwright who speaks a debauched and effeminate American English that simulates by turns movie gangsters, British upper crusts, or French intellectuals.

Well worth listening to.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rochelle
  • Rochelle
  • 10-11-13

Consumate performance of this wonderful book

Jeremy Irons gives a perfect performance as Humbert Humbert (the narrator & fictional author of the story). His tone creates exactly the right amount of compulsion to listen while remaining a repellent character. If you know you want to read Lolita then this is the version you want.

As for the story, the way Nabokov brings the reader in as co-conspirator is both attractive & repellent. If we do not read Humbert's book, his crimes are not witnessed - possibly never committed. As reader we are complicit in every aspect of his crimes.

It's an incredible tale & we are invited right into Humbert's mind, where we are manipulated much the same way he manipulates everyone else around him.

The prose is remarkable. It is possible that Humbert is the most detested fictional character in the world while his story of "Lolita" is one of the finest stories ever written.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 29-06-21

Nope

As a father of a 10year old I could not continue with this book. Sometimes you just need to put it down

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-18

Captivating performance.

Jeremy Irons brings this book to life. Amazing performance that had me totally emersed in the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for vinay ganga
  • vinay ganga
  • 25-02-22

An amazing work of a genius

The best written novel in English language, period. A true privilege to have read this book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Piwacket
  • Piwacket
  • 10-02-22

Dazzling. One of the few true masterpieces of literature.

Lolita deserves multiple readings, and I say ‘readings’ because after you listen to this masterful, pitch-perfect performance by Jeremy Irons, you’ll want to marvel at Nabokov’s spellbinding words on the printed page, and you’ll see how much you missed. It’ll be like reading the book for the first time. I highly recommend The Annotated Lolita, which reveals so many more layers to this intricately crafted tale. Lolita is tragedy, parody, laugh out loud comedy, a marvelous road trip, a massive word game, and one of the most moving love stories of all time. I can’t recommend any book more highly than Lolita.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-01-22

I tried not to sympathise, I really did.

First of all, Jeremy Iron’s performance is devilishly brilliant. I cannot imagine that anyone could have done a better job. It was like watching the movie, but better. His voice and diction were part of what made you want to listen and care for this troubled character.

Phenomenal storytelling. Without giving the plot away, I want to say that the brilliance of this novel is the way beauty and ugliness, humour and sadness, tenderness and violence, exist in an inexplicable harmony. Nabokov’s words appear to bounce off this novel like a poem. Almost like you can see them dancing along, whirling and hypnotising, to a strange song that you fixate on and feel it’s rhythm.

This novel is a mushroom cloud: so beautiful and destructive. And it is nothing but sheer terror, but you can’t look away.

I managed to keep a clear head about the character, and I succeeded, right up until the final minutes of the book, where a pang of the deepest sadness, his sadness, that Gad need slowly building up over the course of this novel, overtook me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter
  • Peter
  • 12-12-21

Find yourself inside an utterly different mind

This book puts you inside a mind which is completely foreign to your own and at odds with society. It manages the interior of that mind so that it makes sense within its own walls. And it manages the boundary between these two worlds so that that perverse world can sustain itself. That is quite an accomplishment on its own. But it's also beautifully written.

The narration is excellent in my opinion. Could be a bit too flat for some but I think it's a deliberate and good choice. It renders the abhorrent unremarkable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 19-05-21

Lolita

An enthralling and tragic tale about the dangers of imagination. Masterfully read by Jeremy Irons.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jasim
  • Jasim
  • 27-04-21

weird and interesting

I loved the concept of the road tripping and discovering different locations across the United States but I cant seem to understand his relationship with the girls in his lives or why he even keeps going on with being a creep