Monday, October 20, 2008

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1957
Number of pages: 160

Started: 8 August 2008
Finished: 14 August 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):
Timofey Pnin, a St Petersburg bourgeois until the age of twenty, has had to struggle most of his life - with foreign languages he can never get the better of, with foreign transport he always misses or arrives several hours too early for, and with foreign people whom he invariably misunderstoods, and who usually misunderstand him. But his principal protagonist is modern, gadget-ridden America, and the love-hate relationship between Pnin and his adopted country is the main theme of this very funny book.

Pnin is the second work of Nabokov's I've read, after Lolita. I find that Nabokov is not an easy author to read; despite the short nature of Pnin, it took me a week to get through it. Nabokov needs to be read slowly in order to appreciate the true brilliance of his writing.

Timofey Pnin is a wonderful character; one of the best I've read in literature. As a Russian professor living in America and bumbling his way from one situation to the next, it's hard to know whether to pity him or think he's a fool. Either way, you can't help but love him in all his quirkiness and foibles. Sheer brilliance!

1 comment:

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