Ada, or Ardor

  • by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Narrated by Arthur Morey
  • 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Published two weeks after Vladimir Nabokov’s seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of his greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest, but it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat. This is the first American edition to include the extensive and ingeniously sardonic appendix by the author, written under the anagrammatic pseudonym Vivian Darkbloom. One of the twentieth century’s master prose stylists, Vladimir Nabokov was born in St. Petersburg in 1899. He studied French and Russian literature at Trinity College, Cambridge, then lived in Berlin and Paris, where he launched a brilliant literary career. In 1940 he moved to the United States, and achieved renown as a novelist, poet, critic, and translator. He taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, Cornell, and Harvard. In 1961 he moved to Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1977.


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incest, a game the Whole Family Can Play

There's a whole swath of novels I purchased in my twenties but knowing the authors' genius never felt quite ready to read (ah, tomorrow). It took me years to crack open these 'Infinite Jests', 'Moby-Dicks', these 'Recognitions' and 'Brothers Karamazovs', etc. Well, after reading 11 previous (not in time only in MY reading are some of these actually previous) Nabokov novels, and never really tripped by any, I was finally in the right spot in my life to read 'Ada, or Ardor' and give that novel the more than titular attention Nabokov's novels all demand.

Please remember people, this novel is so much more than a book about a cousin/brother who loves his cousin/sister. There is also another 1/2 sister involved, oh and IT is a book about time, memory, love. It is a novel about the past and the present (no not the future, never the future). IT is a romance of Tolstoy, Proust AND Time. IT is festooned with all the fantastic elements of Nabokov: his language, his structural genius, his playful doubling, his love of place and people. The whole novel is a giant painting where Nabokov unscrews all his paints and surrounds the canvas. He isn't satisfied with painting one side. No. The Big N wants to unwind and unroll that big cotton canvas, stretch it, and paint front and back. He wants to over-paint. HE will garish the floor, the ceiling, the walls. Nabokov hides stories within stories.

Reading Nabokov's great novels is like finding yourself alone in a beautiful park on a perfect day and suddenly your senses overwhelmed by the smell, the light, the butterflies and memories of your past. It is like an emotional contrast flush. Nabokov has intravenusly warmed you instantly from head to foot - and ZAP! WHOOP! WHOOP! Reading almost never ever gets better than Nabokov when the Master is on fire (Lolita; Pale Fire; Speak, Memory; and Ada, or Ardor).
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- Darwin8u

Butchering Nabokov

What did you like best about Ada, or Ardor? What did you like least?

I wouldn't have thought anybody could make Nabokov's wonderful prose sound this bad: grating, irritating and affected. In his mouth, all the characters sound like conceited, shallow, spoiled, self indulgent teenagers, instead of thoughtful, lyrical, mulitdimensional people. Yes, the characters are meant to be young and self absorbed, but they shouldn't sound like valley girls (and boys) with big vocabularies, insulated from real emotional life and development by even bigger bank roles. What a disappointment ! ! !

What did you like best about this story?

But, of course, it is Nabokov, and if you can some how tune out the ugly veneer applied by the reader, the story, and the language, are still there.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Arthur Morey?

Anybody else, alone or with a cast, would be better.

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- G. W. Stebbins

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-20-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio