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

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

An amazing feat for such a unique novel

While I highly recommend this selection, I can only recommend it to those who have read the printed novel first. Nabokov's book consists of a long poem written by John Shade, and a rambling, often hilarious, "commentary" written by Charles Kinbote, self-proclaimed king-in-exile from his beloved country of Zembla. As the commentary refers to specific lines of the 999-line poem, I was curious as to how the producers of the audiobook would handle these two distinct components. I was delighted by the choice to employ two narrators, Robert Blumenfeld for Shade and Marc Vietor for Kinbote. Both are excellent, but Vietor's Kinbote is what makes this audiobook so special. His unidentifiable (slightly Russian) accent and self-assured cockiness bring the exiled king (or plain madman) spring to life. Fans of the book should not feel they are wasting a credit by buying a book they've already read. Listening to Pale Fire will bring a new level of appreciation to Nabokov's brilliant novel.
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- Roger

Book Details

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