Nabokov whose 'Lolitha' immortalised him, wrote 'The Original of Laura' on 138 index cards, each of which will be reproduced with a transcript of their text on the facing page. Nabokov left instructions after his death in 1977 that the unfinished work be destroyed. His son took the decision to publish last year.
According to The Bookseller magazine, Alexis Kirschbaum, editor at Penguin Classics, bought the book and rights to continue publishing the Nabokov backlist in a six-figure deal.
The book will be published as a Penguin Classics hardback on November 3, priced 25 pounds.
It is narrated by a man infatuated with his promiscuous wife, thinking back to the start of his obsession when they were youths.
Kirschbaum, who described the book as both dark and comic, said: "In this novel he is also very interested in psychology and in what it means to hate yourself and want to disappear."