Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Short Review: Nabokov’s beautifully-written, disturbing story of a pedophile’s love for a young girl, read by the inimitable Jeremy Irons.
Long Review: Lolita is, of course, a classic. But an uncomfortable one. Humbert Humbert is quite the anti-hero: charming, brilliant, self-effacing and at the same time a disgusting, manipulative, immoral creep. The novel is a farce which uses Poe’s Annabel Lee as a jumping-off point to explain a terribly destructive fetish disguised with a pretty poetic bow.
The book relies on H.H.’s command of language and allusion to make the disgusting palpable. Casting Irons as the reader, and thus in the role he played in the film directed by Adrian Lyne, was a master stroke. H.H. narrates the novel, of course, and not just anyone can read that part convincingly. Jeremy Irons does. His voice is wonderful, his diction is precise, and he oozes the old-world breeding and education the role requires.