Awe and exhiliration--along with heartbreak and mordant wit--abound in Lolita, Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story 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. Most of all, it is a meditation on love--love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.
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Vladimir Nabokov did things with the English language that is beyond most others' wildest dreams. He used it with precision, playfulness & panache. Nabokov's sheer love of language is an exhilarating thing to experience.
Regarding the narration, I can think of just one word (alas-- my resources aren't as wide as Nabokov's): DIVINE. You will fall in love. Jeremy Irons is really nothing short of divine. One does not need this review to know that he has a maddeningly gorgeous voice-- just listen to the preview! Less obviously however, he meets the enormous emotional & intellectual challenges narrating this book poses. Humbert Humbert, the narrator of 'Lolita', is infamously 'unreliable' & Irons gets this across without being theatrical.. He is coaxing, panicked, depraved, seductive, smug & pitiful, as the situation calls for. He is what is what I imagine must be one of the hardest things to convey through acting: sociopathic.
No less impressive is Mr Irons' grasp of the technical aspects of this book, with its fanciful terms (either obscure or coined) & the significant amount of phrases in other languages, most often French. That can be learnt through a dialogue coach, but his innate understanding of the story is something that cannot. One can't have simply a pleasant speaking voice to read Nabokov; one must have a thorough respect for the arts of storytelling & linguistics. Mr Irons is much more than a pretty voice & does this important work of fiction ample justice. That’s saying a heck of a lot.
Enjoy it-- we are so lucky to have this.
Reads fine until chapter 20 of part 1, where it skips to some other random section. Total waste of $16.
Captures humbert humbert perfectly although it skips around track 43