Extended Audio Sample

Download The Luzhin Defense Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Luzhin Defense, by Vladimir Nabokov Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,999 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Vladimir Nabokov Narrator: Mel Foster Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $14.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $13.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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 As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen — an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates.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 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. “[Nabokov is] the supreme master.” — The New York Times Book Review Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angelica | 2/20/2014

    " This book has quite a few similarities to Lolita, one of Nabokov's best work. The protagonist Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin, a chess prodigy who discovered his abilities when he aunt started to teach him chess at a young age. Though unattractive and withdrawn, he quickly became a great player rising through the ranks and attaining the title of Grand Master in a matter of 10 years. As his obsession with chess grows, he becomes socially detached and physically unhealthy. During a chess tournament, he meets a young girl who was never named in the novel, but he dubs are as his "Queen". They fall in love and Luzhin eventually proposes to her. Things started to go downhill from there not because of his Queen but because of his own mind and his obsession with chess. Luzhin has a mental breakdown, which climaxes when his carefully planned defense against Turati (italian Grand Master) fails in the first moves, and the resulting game fails to produce a winner.. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Brigette | 2/15/2014

    " Luzhin was very hard to identify with. Almost no attempt was made to describe any kind of inner motivation to master the game of chess, only that the obsession existed. He never seemed human and no insight was given into his thought process. The destructive nature of obsession would have had a greater impact if slightly romanticized. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Apollo's Crow | 1/25/2014

    " An awkward and unusual boy grows into an awkward and unusual chess champion. This is an early Russian novel of Nabokov's, translated with his help, and while it is not as deeply probing or as refined as his later English work, it features his trademark prose and his dream-like fascination with obsession, disconnection and tragedy. Bonus chess metaphors made this a no-brainer for me - I always get more interested in chess during the winter. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Megan | 1/13/2014

    " Great book-- also a good movie, renamed to the Luzhin Defence...John Tuturro. Very good. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Narrator

Mel Foster is a prolific audiobook narrator, having read dozens of titles throughout his career. He is the recipient of the prestigious Audie Award, as well as the AudioFile Earphones Award. A former advertising agency executive who used to record test tracks for commercials, his narration career was born out of encouragement from his clients who would often say, “why are we hiring someone else? I like this guy.”