Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov

Laughter in the Dark (original 1932; edition 2006)

by Vladimir Nabokov, John Banville (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,377235,543 (3.9)22
Title:Laughter in the Dark
Authors:Vladimir Nabokov
Other authors:John Banville (Introduction)
Info:New Directions (2006), Paperback, 308 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov (Author) (1932)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 22 mentions

English (21)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All (23)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
is the cover on this page correct? my 89 viking international paperback copy has a different image, but same publication specs
  ornithopolis | Mar 19, 2017 |
Interesting short novel, set in the 1930s, mostly in Berlin. The first lines of the book give it away, but how that works itself out is then revealed. A sad story really, and although fiction, I imagine it's the structure of many cases of infidelity and 'affairs'. ( )
  robeik | Jul 12, 2016 |
Haunting and gripping. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
As the narrator of Laughter in the Dark notes, “although there is plenty of space on a gravestone to contain…a man’s life, detail is always welcome.” Here the details of the life and death of Albert Albinus begin with smug self satisfaction and ennui, degrade into unrequited lust, collapse in fits of self delusion, farce, and debauchery, and end in self recrimination, cuckoldry, and murder. And while you might have been just as enriched by the tombstone version of his life, there is something of a brisk tour-de-force in Nabokov’s willingness to give himself over to the absurdities of his plot and, more especially, of his characters.

Albert is a middle-aged man in Berlin between the wars, who is comfortably middle-class. But his predilection is for very young women — very young — and despite restraining that impulse throughout his marriage to Elizabeth, he is tempted when he encounters young Margot ushering at a local cinema. To Albert she is all that innocence implies. Alas, Margot is far less, or more, and quickly settles on Albert as her ticket out of poverty and possibly into life on the other side of the silver screen. It’s all a bit sordid but mundane. However, when Margot’s first and only true love, Axel, turns up, complications ensue. Fortunately Axel is quite willing to borrow Margot’s affection at Albert’s expense and their shenanigans engender the laughter in the dark of the title.

This is a light romp that doesn’t stand up against Nabokov’s more serious comedies. But it does reveal that even early in his career he was already full of mirth at the expense of many of his characters and quite willing to point the finger at his readers as well. ( )
1 vote RandyMetcalfe | Mar 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nabokov, VladimirAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banville, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bergsma, Petersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811216748, Paperback)

The classic novel from the author of Lolita, brilliantly portraying one man's ruin through love and betrayal.

"Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster." Thus begins Vladimir Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark; this, the author tells us, is the whole story—except that he starts from here, with his characteristic dazzling skill and irony, and brilliantly turns a fable into a chilling, original novel of folly and destruction. Amidst a Weimar-era milieu of silent film stars, artists, and aspirants, Nabokov creates a merciless masterpiece as Albinus, an aging critic, falls prey to his own desires, to his teenage mistress, and to Axel Rex, the scheming rival for her affections who finds his greatest joy in the downfall of others.

Published first in Russian as Kamera Obskura in 1932, this book appeared in Nabokov's own English translation six years later. This New Directions edition, based on the text as Nabokov revised it in 1960, features a new introduction by Booker Prize-winner John Banville.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:20 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In Berlin there lived a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable and happy but one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress he loved. He was not loved in return, however, and his life ended in disaster.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
132 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.9)
1 3
2 8
2.5 3
3 46
3.5 20
4 107
4.5 16
5 52

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141186526, 0141196955

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,100,386 books! | Top bar: Always visible