The Luzhin Defense

Vladimir Nabokov, Author, Mel Foster, Performed by
Vladimir Nabokov, read by Mel Foster, Brilliance Audio, unabridged, eight CDs, 8.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4418-7292-0
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 12/01/2010
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. (Dec.)
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