Cover art for Lolita

Lolita

205 ratings

Summary

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.

(P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Narrator: Jeremy Irons
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
Available on Audible
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Pale Fire

6 ratings

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.

©1962 Vera Nabokov and Dmitri Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc

Available on Audible
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Speak Memory

4 ratings

Summary

From one of the 20th century's great writers comes one of the finest autobiographies of our time. Speak, Memory, first published in 1951 as Conclusive Evidence and then assiduously revised in 1966, is an elegant and rich evocation of Nabokov’s life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, and The Luhzin Defense.  One of the 20th 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.

©1947, 1951, 1967 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc

Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
Available on Audible
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Laughter in the Dark

4 ratings

Summary

Albinus, a respectable, middle-aged man and aspiring filmmaker, abandons his wife for a lover half his age: Margot, who wants to become a movie star. When Albinus introduces her to Rex, an American movie producer, disaster ensues. What emerges is an elegantly sardonic and irresistibly ironic novel of desire, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set in the film world of Berlin in the 1930s. One of the 20th 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.

©1969 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
Available on Audible
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The Luzhin Defense

3 ratings

Summary

Nabokov’s third novel, The Luzhin Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen — an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster — but at a cost: in Luzhin’s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers under his opponent’s unexpected and unpredictable lines of assault. One of the 20th 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.

Public Domain (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Mel Foster
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Available on Audible
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Despair

2 ratings

Summary

Extensively revised by Nabokov in 1965 - 30 years after its original publication - Despair is the wickedly inventive and richly derisive story of Hermann, a man who undertakes the perfect crime: his own murder. One of the 20th 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.

Public Domain (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Invitation to a Beheading

Invitation to a Beheading

2 ratings

Summary

Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude", an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell. When Cincinnatus is led out to be executed. he simply wills his executioners out of existence. They disappear, along with the whole world they inhabit.

©1935 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
Available on Audible
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The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

2 ratings

Summary

The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, the first novel Nabokov wrote in English, is a tantalizing literary mystery in which a writer’s half brother searches to unravel the enigma of the life of the famous author of Albinos in Black, The Back of the Moon, and Doubtful Asphodel. A characteristically cunning play on identity and deception, the novel concludes “ I am Sebastian, or Sebastian is I, or perhaps we both are someone whom neither of us knows.”

©1941 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
Available on Audible
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Wonderful Town

1 rating

Summary

New York City is not only The New Yorker magazine's place of origin and its sensibility's lifeblood, it is the heart of American literary culture. Wonderful Town, an anthology of superb short fiction by many of the magazine's most accomplished contributors, celebrates the 75-year marriage between a preeminent publication and its preeminent context with this collection of 44 of its best stories from (so to speak) home. East Side? Philip Roth's chronically tormented alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, has just moved there, in "Smart Money". West Side? Isaac Bashevis Singer's narrator mingles with the customers in "The Cafeteria" (who debate politics and culture in four or five different languages) and becomes embroiled in an obsessional romance. And downtown, John Updike's Maples have begun their courtship of marital disaster, in "Snowing in Greenwich Village". Wonderful Town touches on some of the city's famous places and stops at some of its more obscure corners, but the real guidebook in and between its lines is to the hearts and the minds of those who populate the metropolis built by its words. Like all good fiction, these stories take particular places, particular people, and particular events and turn them into dramas of universal enlightenment and emotional impact. Each life in it, and each life in Wonderful Town, is the life of us all. Including these stories from the magazine's most iconic writers: "The Five-Forty-Eight" by John Cheever "Distant Music" by Ann Beattle "Sailor off the Bremen" by Irwin Shaw "Physics" by Tama Janowitz "The Whore of Mensa" by Woody Allen "What It Was Like, Seeing Chris" by Deborah Eisenberg "Drawing Room B" by John O’Hara "A Sentimental Journey" by Peter Taylor "The Balloon" by Donald Barthelme "Another Marvelous Thing" by Laurie Colwin "The Failure" by Jonathan Franzen "Apartment Hotel" by Sally Benson "Midair" by Frank Conroy "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber "I See You, Bianca" by Maeve Brennan "You’re Ugly, Too" by Lorrie Moore "Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov "Poor Visitor" by Jamaica Kincaid "In Greenwich, There Are Many Graveled Walks" by Hortense Calisher "Some Nights When Nothing Happens Are the Best Nights in this Place" by John McNulty "Slight Rebellion off Madison" by J. D. Salinger "Brownstone" by Renata Adler "Partners" by Veronica Geng "The Evolution of Knowledge" by Niccolo Tucci "The Way We Live Now" by Susan Sontag "Do the Windows Open?" by Julie Hecht "The Mentocrats" by Edward Newhouse "The Treatment" by Daniel Menaker "Arrangement in Black and White" by Dorothy Parker "Carlyle Tries Polygamy" by William Melvin Kelley "Children Are Bored on Sunday" by Jean Stafford "Notes from a Bottle" by James Stevenson "Man in the Middle of the Ocean" by Daniel Fuchs "Me Spoulets of the Splendide" by Ludwig Bemelmans "Over by the River" by William Maxwell "Baster" by Jeffrey Eugenides "The Second Tree from the Corner" by E. B. White "Rembrandt’s Hat" by Bernard Malamud "Shot: A New York Story" by Elizabeth Hardwick "A Father-to-Be" by Saul Bellow "Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer" by S. J. Perelman "Water Child" by Edwidge Danticat "The Smoker" by David Schickler

©2000 The New Yorker Magazine (P)2000 Random House Audio

Available on Audible
Cover art for Ada, or Ardor

Ada, or Ardor

1 rating

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.

©1969 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Arthur Morey
Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
Available on Audible
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Transparent Things

1 rating

Summary

"Transparent Things revolves around the four visits of the hero - sullen, gawky Hugh Person - to Switzerland.... As a young publisher, Hugh is sent to interview R., falls in love with Armande on the way, wrests her, after multiple humiliations, from a grinning Scandinavian and returns to NY with his bride.... Eight years later - following a murder, a period of madness and a brief imprisonment - Hugh makes a lone sentimental journey to wheedle out his past.... The several strands of dream, memory, and time [are] set off against the literary theorizing of R. and, more centrally, against the world of observable objects." —Martin Amis One of the 20th 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.

©1972 Article 3C Trust under the Will of Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Length: 3 hrs and 15 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Eye

The Eye

1 rating

Summary

Nabokov’s fourth novel, The Eye is as much a farcical detective story as it is a profoundly refractive tale about the vicissitudes of identities and appearances. Smurov, a lovelorn, excruciatingly self-conscious Russian émigré living in pre-war Berlin, commits suicide after being humiliated by a jealous husband, only to suffer even greater indignities in the afterlife as he searches for proof of his existence among fellow émigrés who are too distracted to pay him any heed.

©1930 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Fred Stella
Length: 2 hrs and 35 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Bend Sinister

Bend Sinister

1 rating

Summary

The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America, and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the country's foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man. In a folly of bureaucratic bungling and ineptitude, the government attempts to co-opt Krug's support in order to validate the new regime.

©1947 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov

Summary

From Vladimir Nabokov, the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s and the 1950s, these 68 tales — 14 of which have been translated into English for the first time - display all the shades of Nabokov’s imagination. They range from sprightly fables to bittersweet tales of loss, from claustrophobic exercises in horror to a connoisseur’s samplings of the table of human folly. Read as a whole, The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov offers an intoxicating draft of the master’s genius, his devious wit, and his ability to turn language into an instrument of ecstasy. This edition includes the newly discovered story “Natasha.”

Public Domain (P)2010 Brilliance Audio

Narrator: Arthur Morey
Length: 31 hrs and 38 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for The Gift

The Gift

Summary

The Gift is the last of the novels Nabokov wrote in his native language and the crowning achievement of that period in his literary career. It is also his ode to Russian literature, evoking the works of Pushkin, Gogol, and others in the course of its narrative: the story of Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev, an impoverished émigré poet living in Berlin, who dreams of the book he will someday write - a book very much like The Gift itself. 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.

©1963 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 15 hrs and 39 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Pnin (German edition)

Pnin (German edition)

Summary

Professor Timofey Pnin ist ein Ritter der traurigen Gestalt. Der Exilrusse lehrt Literatur an einem amerikanischen Provinzcollege und versucht, sich in der neuen Heimat zurechtzufinden. Weder versteht er die Feinheiten der englischen Sprache, noch ist er in der Lage, die gesellschaftlichen Codes des American Way of Life zu entschlüsseln. Überängstlich und zwanghaft, in seiner Tapsigkeit dabei anrührend, taumelt Pnin von einem Missgeschick zum nächsten. Doch trotz aller Demütigungen, die er sich nicht zuletzt selbst beifügt, schafft er es, seine Würde durch alle Widernisse zu retten. Please note: This audiobook is in German.

©2014 Rowohlt (P)2014 DAV

Narrator: Ulrich Matthes
Length: 7 hrs and 3 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Mary

Mary

Summary

In a Berlin rooming house filled with an assortment of serio-comic Russian émigrés, Lev Ganin, a vigorous young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin’s, who, he discovers, is Mary’s husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia.

Public Domain (P)2010 Brilliance Audio

Length: 4 hrs and 1 min
Available on Audible
Cover art for Look at the Harlequins!

Look at the Harlequins!

Summary

As intricate as a house of mirrors, Nabokov’s last novel is an ironic play on the Janus-like relationship between fiction and reality. It is the autobiography of the eminent Russian-American author Vadim Vadimovich N. (b. 1899), whose life bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, though the two are not to be confused (?). Focusing on the central figures of his life - his four wives, his books, and his muse, Dementia - the book leads us to suspect that the fictions Vadim has created as an author have crossed the line between his life’s work and his life itself, as the worlds of reality and literary invention grow increasingly indistinguishable. One of the 20th 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.

©2011 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for Lolita

Lolita

Summary

Lolita, der både er en af de mest berømte og mest kontroversielle romaner i det 20. årh., fortæller om den midaldrende intellektuelle europæer Humbert Humberts fatale erotiske besættelse af den 12 årige forførende amerikanske nymfe Dolores. Det er historien om en tragisk og grufuld kærlighed fortalt med et både hjerteskærende og ætsende vid. Et studie i erotisk besættelse. Please note: This audiobook is in Danish.

©1955 Vladimir Nabokov (P)2011 Bechs Forlag - Viatone

Narrator: Karsten Pharao
Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
Available on Audible
Cover art for King, Queen, Knave

King, Queen, Knave

Summary

This novel is the story of Dreyer, a wealthy and boisterous proprietor of a men’s clothing emporium. Ruddy, self-satisfied, and thoroughly masculine, he is perfectly repugnant to his exquisite but cold middle-class wife, Martha. Attracted to his money but repelled by his oblivious passion, she longs for their nephew instead, the thin, awkward, myopic Franz. Newly arrived in Berlin, Franz soon repays his uncle’s condescension in his aunt’s bed. 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.

Public Domain (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
Available on Audible