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.More
Why we think it's Essential: Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons portrayed this novel's nymphet-obsessed professor in a filmed adaptation, so it is not surprising he is able to negotiate Nabokov's dense, refined, and fiery prose with great facility. Irons' mastery reminds me of a conductor who studies a score for years and then knows innately how to communicate it to an audience, note-perfect from beginning to end. If you're looking for a fine example of great literature that comes across better in audio than it does on the printed page, you've found it. Corey Thrasher
"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)
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An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience