Pnin MP3 CD – 1 Dec 2013
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Nabokov can move you to laughter in the way that masters can - to laughter that is near to tears (Guardian) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
One of the best-loved of Nabokov's novels, PNIN features his funniest and most heartrending character. Professor Timofey Pnin is a haplessly disoriented Russian émigré precariously employed on an American college campus in the 1950s. Pnin struggles to maintain his dignity through a series of comic and sad misunderstandings, all the while falling victim both to subtle academic conspiracies and to the manipulations of a deliberately unreliable narrator. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Pnin is endearing and lovable, while at the same time being consistently cringeworthy or absurd. He exploits are painted vividly on a meticulously realised backdrop of Nabokovian Americana. Familiar settings like universities and diners are embued with fresh life - descriptions I may have been tempted to skim in another book bear repeated re-readings.
Beauty is to be expected from Nabokov, but the strength of the humour may surprise you. The physical imagery of Pnin, with his strange, top heavy body and bald head combines with verbal humour ( "I never go in a hat even in winter") very effectively.
An undercurrent to the humour is that Pnin is frequently at the wrong end of it - the reader snickers at some gaffe poor Pnin has made, but in the next passage frowns at other characters laughing at him too.
It's short, but its images and scenes will leave a stronger imprint on your memory than most longer novels. I can definitely see myself rereading this in years to come.
Pnin is one of his finer creations: an inhibited academic, whose past is laced with pain and betrayals, he lives a little life from all appearences. Yet within him is a being of extraordinary sympathy and quirky intelligence, which floursihes under Nabokov's comic and tragic gaze. Only those who come to love him experience the treasure that lies within him, and as he is revealed to the reader, who can fall in love with him or not. Though very little occurs in this book in terms of plot, Pnin's existence takes on a kind of significance. THe reader comes to acccept his limitations while feeling such an acute ache of sympathy for him.
Warmly recommended, but it isn't for everybody.
I listened to the reading by Stefan Rudnicki for Brilliance Audio, which is on 5 CDs. It was my first encounter with Nabokov.
The book left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, the language is startlingly original, packed with memorable images and phrases. The skyline of New York, for example, is compared to a bar chart; Pnin is said to have discarded a football by means of 'defenestration'. It is also very funny: Pnin's unusual English proves a consistent pleasure.
Yet there is something tricksy about it. Some parts of the story are told by an omniscient narrator; later, an unidentified first person narrator takes up the story. It is all rather confusing, and in the end I wasn't quite sure what happened to Pnin. Perhaps all would become clear on a second listen.
Despite this reservation, it is clearly a work of quality. I would recommend it to others new to Nabokov.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The greatest writer of English prose, what more is there to say. Classic Nabokov story, all his usual tics, including, briefly, butterflies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Roger Batt
The novel is beautifully written but as a university campus novel it did not have much to say to me about the human condition.Published 9 months ago by Herman Norford
A loveable, light-hearted book from Nabokov, following his dark masterpiece Lolita. Timofey Pnin is a wonderful comic creation, delivering lectures he shouldn't be and getting... Read morePublished 12 months ago by ReviewMonkey
If your scared off by the baggage that come with Nabokov start here. Its a genuinely funny book, I loved it when I first read it and still do. Read morePublished 18 months ago by A. J. Hammond
Nabokov plays with his readers as a fisherman plays with a salmon on a line. And you thank him for it.Published on 10 Jun. 2014 by Andrew Robinson
There aren't words to describe the joy Nabokov's sentences can bring to a person. When those sentences are married to a similarly enticing story (as here; not as, for example, with... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2014 by RachelWalker
Pnin as a novel is haunted by what it could be. There parts of this book which are simply brilliant (end of Ch. 5 in particular), but they are islands amongst the merely mediocre. Read morePublished on 18 July 2013 by lucaslavia