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As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen--an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates.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 the world of 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 unpredictabke lines of assault.
Mel Foster turns in a workmanlike performance in this uninspired audio version of Vladimir Nabokov's third novel. Luzhin is a sullen, lonely child who takes refuge in chess and eventually becomes a grandmaster until chess begins to control and alter his conception of reality. Mel Foster's narration is crisp and clear, but too stiff for Nabokov's limber, playful prose. And while Foster deftly creates voices for the various characters, listeners might wish he could have mustered a Russian accent. However Foster's performance has its highlights: his rendition of the adult Luzhin, with his high-pitched voice and abrupt, awkward manner is delightful.
I had high hopes but it was underwhelming and gave it until 64 pages were left to close it.
If you don’t get anything more out of what you are reading then close it and move on.