Pnin

PninTimofey 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?

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