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Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
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Pnin (original 1957; edition 2004)

by Vladimir Nabokov

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2,806372,079 (3.9)1 / 120
Member:zvs
Title:Pnin
Authors:Vladimir Nabokov
Info:Everyman's Library (2004), Hardcover, 184 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:russian, usa

Work details

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov (1957)

  1. 01
    Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith (bertilak)
    bertilak: Smith's book is a trifle by comparison, but both deal with eccentric academics.
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English (34)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Enjoyed this, yet Nabakov's prose, however beautiful, can tend to be a bit acrobatic for me. A real work of art, though, as this is certainly not driven by plot. Just an endearing portrait of a kooky man.
Also, I catalogued this as Russian Literature. I know he wrote this in English while n America. Still. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Sep 1, 2014 |
Be sincere, love something, be alive! ( )
  Oskar_Matzerath | Aug 16, 2014 |
I loved this funny, touching, subtle, impressionistic short novel of the quintessential, yet unrepeatable emigre Russian college professor. I met many of Pnin's real-world epigones at Middlebury College summer language school, so I can attest that Nabokov's version both captures and transcends the type!

I could well relate to the hapless Pnin's [SPOILER, sort of:] professional demise at the end of the book. Nabokov makes it clear that, despite his often hilarious versions of English phrasing and pronunciation, Pnin knows his own language--as well as French--to perfection and is more a true scholar than any of the middlebrow Americans who surround him. Pnin's fine sensitivities are conveyed through trivial events that motivate weighty emotional recollections as, for example, a brief mention of his 1st love. All major events are presented obliquely, and so we discover in passing that Mira met an untimely end in a Nazi death camp.

The displacement of such past griefs in the new life of affluent, optimistic America is one of the book's fine achievements. Nothing is resolved as Pnin drives off into the sunset, having absorbed--we may believe, if we wish--his own measure of optimism. ( )
2 vote AnesaMiller | Mar 10, 2014 |
I finally found a boring Nabokov novel. ( )
  jhudsui | Feb 27, 2014 |
An admirable, very well written book but failed to engage me, hence the 3 stars. As a piece of literature it is great. ( )
  AyeshaF | Dec 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vladimir Nabokovprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bayer, A. E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, Michaelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The elderly passenger sitting on the north-window side of that inexorably moving railway coach, next to an empty seat and facing two empty ones, was none other than Professor Timofey Pnin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679723412, Paperback)

Pnin is a professor of Russian at an American college who takes the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he cannot master. Pnin is a tireless lover who writes to his treacherous Liza: "A genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do." Pnin is the focal point of subtle academic conspiracies he cannot begin to comprehend, yet he stages a faculty party to end all faculty parties forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Pnin is a professor of Russian at an American college who takes the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he cannot master. Pnin is a tireless lover who writes to his treacherous Liza: "A genius needs to keep so much in store, and thus cannot offer you the whole of himself as I do." Pnin is the focal point of subtle academic conspiracies he cannot begin to comprehend, yet he stages a faculty party to end all faculty parties forever.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183756, 0141197129

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