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Lolita

Narrated by: Jeremy Irons
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (974 ratings)
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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 members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • West Wickham, United Kingdom
  • 04-05-10

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.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joff
  • Lyme Regis, England
  • 17-09-09

Brilliant

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

13 of 13 people found this review 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.

10 of 10 people found this review 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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • Llanwrtyd wells, United Kingdom
  • 07-09-10

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!

16 of 17 people found this review 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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • Hitchin, United Kingdom
  • 14-06-12

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.

10 of 11 people found this review 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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Disquieting but riveting story

Jeremy Irons does a marvellous narration of this very unsettling story. It's more explicit than the filmed versions and gets to the heart of the desires of men who crave sexual satisfaction with girls in their early teens. Nabokov's fine writing raises the story from being mere pornography and has created a book with a fine mix of humorous human foibles and vanities coupled with an exploration of perversion and the damage it can cause.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tajinder
  • tendring, essex, United Kingdom
  • 13-05-09

OH MY OH MY

I happened to listen to this book by chance when I was driving to and from work and I was spellbound. Jeremy Irons narrates it beautifully and my heart ached all the way through.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful