Timofey Pnin is a somewhat eccentric, Russian emigre who is teaching Russian to very sparse classes in the early 1950s at a small college in New England. After nine years at the college he is expecting tenure and is secure enough to think about buying a house. Then he finds that he will be let go. On the last page of the book the narrator – an old Russian friend of Pnin’s – watches him drive away from the small college town to – who knows where? I quote from one of the last paragraphs that I find melancholy yet optimistic.
Then the little sedan [bearing Pnin] boldly swung up the shining road, which one could make out narrowing to a thread of gold in the soft mist where hill after hill made beauty of distance, and where there was simply no saying what miracle might happen.
Is that not a perfect sentence? A wonderful, wonderful sentence?