My Fictional Counterpart

This was a response to a Vox Question of the Day: What character in a book can you connect with or relate to the most?
Pnin (Vintage International)

This is a paralyzingly difficult question, especially for a bookish person like me.  The answer could change from day to day.  I have to say, though, that one character I always empathize with, in a weirdly powerful way, is Timofey Pnin. He’s a bit bristly and deeply sad — a man who sort of bumbles around just trying to do his job when all around him various academic jerkburgers are scheming him and his one-man Russian department out of existence, and yet still manages to throw the best college faculty party of all time.

An insensitive reader might find him pathetic, but I find him just wonderful — my heart catches in my throat every time I come to the part where he thinks he’s broken the glass bowl.  And in the end, of course, things work out for Pnin: he drives off with the dog, not to be glimpsed again until his brief appearance years later at Wordsmith College.

Maybe I’ll include some excerpts later (my copy of this book is at school), since my description clearly does the man no justice.

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