Pale Fire

  • by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Narrated by Marc Vietor
  • 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed--according to Nabokov's fiction--by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.

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What the Critics Say

"This centaur-work, half poem, half prose . . . is a creation of perfect beauty, symmetry, strangeness, originality and moral truth. Pretending to be a curio, it cannot disguise the fact that it is one of the great works of art of this century." (Mary McCarthy, The New Republic)
"Of all [Nabokov's] inventions, Pale Fire is the wildest, the funniest and the most earnest. It is like nothing on God's earth." (New York Herald Tribune)
"A monstrous, witty, intricately entertaining work . . . done with dazzling skill." (Time)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Gentle Ghost of a Poet

One of the funniest, most absurdly brilliant books I've ever read. I find it amazing that Nabakov would have written this novel (which oddly is a haunting retelling of my life story) without mentioning me by name at all. There must be a reason for this. Perhaps Nabakov was trying to not just protect me, but my whole family from the fame and pain that would no doubt have accompanied the public's inquisitiveness and the critics' vampirism if this information had been made plain and obvious. That is what I love about Nabakov. He is a gentle ghost of a poet that exists in many levels and in many times and in many spaces simultaneously. I think his integrity in lying about and hiding my influence is both beautiful and nobel and certainly shaking with a heterosexual, Russian poet's naiveté
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Quality recording!

This audiobook has two well-chosen narrators: one for Shade's poem and another - Vietor, I assume - for the commentary. The poem narrator also reads the opening reference lines to each footnote which breaks up the flow nicely and gives aural cues for each new note. Because of the highly non-linear structure induced by cross-references in the commentary, some may recommend constantly pausing and consulting a hard copy. Pale Fire demands to be reread and further explored in ways which might render the audiobook useless. This was perhaps an opportunity to be more creative with the audiobook indexing, but instead you just get roughly hour-long chunks.

Alas, I found my first reading to be fabulously enjoyable, if not entirely illuminating, without such devices (straight-through). Well-read, never dull voicings, 5 stars
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-23-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios