1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Pnin  By  cover art

Pnin

By: Vladimir Nabokov
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $19.95

Buy for $19.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

One of the best-loved of Nabokov's novels, Pnin features his funniest and most heart-rending character. Professor Timofey Pnin is a haplessly disoriented Russian emigre 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.

Initially an almost grotesquely comic figure, Pnin gradually grows in stature by contrast with those who laugh at him. Whether taking the wrong train to deliver a lecture in a language he has not mastered or throwing a faculty party during which he learns he is losing his job, the gently preposterous hero of this enchanting novel evokes the listener's deepest protective instinct. 

Serialized in The New Yorker and published in book form in 1957, Pnin brought Nabokov both his first National Book Award nomination and hitherto unprecedented popularity. 

Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically." (John Updike)

What listeners say about Pnin

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    85
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Why not leave their private sorrows to people?

“Why not leave their private sorrows to people? Is sorrow not, one asks, the only thing in the world people really possess?”
― Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin

This isn't just the last nail in my Nabokov coffin, this is the ground thrown on the coffin. Finito sweet benito. I've now read all his ficiton (both those written in Russian and translated into English later and those written in English). It is kinda sad. But so too is Pnin. I'd call the novel melancholy, but it isn't quite sad or melancholy. There is something too sweet and funny and eccentric to be easily categorized. It is Nabokov's Don Quixote novel. His protagonist is a professor of Russian barely holding on in a fictionalized university (modeled a bit on Cornell). He isn't exactly absent minded. In fact, his mind is almost too much there. But there is something romantic and lovely about him.

The prose was beautiful and a couple chapters were near perfection. Chapter 5: Pnin drives to The Pines was amazing. I also adored the just barely intrusive narrator V.V. (Vladimir Vladimirovich). The novel wasn't my favorite Nabokov (Ada, Lolita, Pale Fire are all way better), but it is lovey and deserves a strong presence on Nabokov's slightly dusty second shelf.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

beautiful stuff

a beautiful book by Vladimir Nabokov read with expertise by Stefan Rudnicki. I cannot reccomend it enough.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really good.

Pnin is my favorite of Nabokov's novels. Yes, yes, yes, Lolita has some of the most piercing linguistic insight into American Vernacular but I always come back to Pnin. Rudnicki was good. The execution of accent and bold, baritone didacticism of narration do the text justice. Read/ Listen to Pnin and laugh a warming tear from your eye as you marvel at a man, long from a home he may only remember, with all the uncertainty memory demands, straining his understanding of America to the point of well portioned, potion like, mesmerism.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nabokov’s a genius; Rudnicki must narrate all of Nabokov’s works.

I purchased the audio CD several years ago and loved it. Was wonderfully surprised that Audible had finally added it.
Mr. Rudnicki should be hired to record all of Nabokov’s extant works, ESPECIALLY “Lolita.”

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic.

I listened to this great narration while reading the text. it was a great experience.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Utterly average

Went for Pnin on many recommendations. Went with this version because the voice actor sounded a bit like Mike Rowe. He did a decent job, but Nabokov was just too verbose too often.

At first, I’d rewind to make sure I understood the paragraph long sentence, but ended up quickly not caring enough.

Some of the book was “cute” but not what I would call humorous. I found Pride and Prejudice funnier/wittier. Sure, Pnin probably reminds each of us of some odd duck we know or worked with. But it didn’t make me want to read/listen to anything else by Nabokov.

High expectations, mediocre satisfaction.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Read years ago and loved it and listened and loved it again. VN is the master.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Less than stellar performance

I enjoyed the story of Pnin just like I enjoy anything written by Nabokov. However, while the narrator has very pleasant voice, the performance was ruined by a horrific pronunciation of Russian words which are quite abundant in the story. One may think that knowing the content of the book the narrator should have consulted somebody who actually speaks Russian and possibly practice a bit before undertaking such job.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Possibly my favorite Nabokov novel

Hilariously well read. Pnin has been one of my favorite Nabokov stories for the last 2 decades, and I’ve read most of his work. It’s hilarious, sweet and sometimes sad, with both an endearing main character and a fun though suspicious narrator. It captures the immigrant story that is still so prevalent and relevant to the current world situation.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A whimsical character study

Pnin is an excellent book. Short but very dense. It has a humorous tone that makes the book fly by. All hail Nabokov!