The Luzhin Defense

  • by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Narrated by Mel Foster
  • 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen — an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates.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.


What the Critics Say

"[Nabokov is] the supreme master.” (New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Check it out, mate!

According to Wikipedia, Nabokov said of this novel: "Of all my Russian books, The Defense contains and diffuses the greatest 'warmth' -– which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract chess is supposed to be." I was certainly drawn into the sad, obsessive world of the lonely child at its heart and his almost synesthetic escape into the abstraction of chess in an unhappy family. I lost awareness of the narrator very quickly, perhaps because for me, he was able to render dialogue convincingly without losing the strange detachment of the narrative tone. I would certainly recommend this unabridged version.

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- david

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-12-2010
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio