• Ada, or Ardor

  • A Family Chronicle
  • By: Vladimir Nabokov
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 20-09-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • 3 out of 5 stars 3.0 (14 ratings)

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.
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Critic reviews

“Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically.” (John Updike)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Kirsty H on 05-12-15

Just not for me

Reading other reviews I think this is a bit of a "marmite" book- love or hate it but not really any middle ground.
I fell into the latter.
I felt the book was more a showcase of literary techniques to show superiority and command of language and a continual attempt to shock than a story to be savoured and enjoyed.
I have no issues with subtle use of language but felt the switching between languages just distracted from the story - which if I'm honest I'm not really sure I could describe. I believe in text form it is a challenging read and for some that makes the best kind of book
I did make it to the bItter end -the performance was good which helped a lot but it just wasn't for me.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Keith on 01-12-13

An incestuous affair not for all the family

What did you like best about Ada, or Ardor? What did you like least?

It`s a brilliantly imagined fictitious world with its own history, culture and inventions. The characters are not especially sympathetic but the reader is drawn into their strange universe and views their fascinating lives up close.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ada, or Ardor?

There is a scene by the swimming pool at the beginning of the second fateful summer when the protagonist, Van, is witness to his beloved`s tangled relationships with three different men yet fails to penetrate the truth of her infidelity despite his forensic interrogation.

Did Arthur Morey do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

He did quite well, subtly modulating his tones to adapt to male and female characters.

Was Ada, or Ardor worth the listening time?

Yes, it is a long novel but the narrative accelerates throughout the book.

Any additional comments?

Personally, I found it harder to appreciate Nabokov`s verbal dexterity aurally; I think one needs to see the words on the page to understand some of his puns and wordplay.

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By LLea on 10-08-12

Great book. Flawed narration.

"Ada or Ardor", written late in Nabokov's career, is a brilliant, hilarious and poignant story about two young people wildly in love who grow up to be two old people wildly in love. It takes place in an alternative world related to the one in which we live, but with interesting and peculiar differences (sort of sci-fi / fantasy). It is tricky, twisty and complicated but still lucid and and illuminating. I've read it several times over 30 years.

Regrettably, the narrator has a flat affect. I might be listening to a list of stocks and their values from the back pages of the newspaper. I found I could listen very closely - pretending there was no narrator but perhaps a computer generated voice - and then try to color the text with my own emotions. It didn't work out very well.

I hoped for a performance that recognized and illuminated the nuances of the text. It wasn't what I got. About 15% through the book I gave up.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Brian on 25-11-14

Worst reading performance of all time.

What made the experience of listening to Ada, or Ardor the most enjoyable?

It was virtually impossible to enjoy since Arthur Morey and his editors know neither Russian nor French. I would say perhaps they don't know English, either, but that would be piling on.

Would you be willing to try another one of Arthur Morey’s performances?

Never so long as I live. An embarrassment.

Any additional comments?

I cannot stress enough how terrible this reading is. Virtually every French word is mispronounced: each pun, allusion, and echo is lost. (And of course, being American, Morey sounds like a robot.) The editors, producers, and Audible should be embarrassed.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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