Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0001466, Wed, 20 Nov 1996 13:38:12 -0800

EDITOR'S NOTE. NABOKV-L thanks Jerry Goodenough <J.Goodenough@uea.ac.uk>
for identifying Pnin fan SHENA Mackay below. His suggestion ofa Xmas
Competition on the theme "Which Nabokovian character would you most/least
like to be stuck trapped in a Railway compartment with?" is promising.
Winning entries will be posted on Xmas Day (or thereabouts).
In her VN Collation, Suellen enquires:

>In the August 10, _Daily Telegraph_ the headline, "Brief Encounter SHENA
>MACKAY chooses the fictional character with whom she would most like to
>spend an evening" prompts me to wonder who Shena Mackay and what Brief
>Encounter is. Perhaps British Nabokovians could inform us better on the
>source of the following quotation:

[quotation concerning Pnin snipped]

Shena Mackay is a Scottish-born London-based author of fiction. She has
published collections of short stories - her Collected Short Stories were
published by Penguin Books not so long ago - and I think she recently had a
novel shortlisted (unsuccessfully) for the Booker Prize. Further information
about her and her books can be accessed via
I am not a 'Telegraph' reader (thank goodness!) but suspect that 'Brief
Encounter' is a kind of filler-feature wherein living authors etc are asked
about their favourite fictional characters.

There is the makings of a splendid Christmas competition here, along the lines
of "Which Nabokovian character would you most/least like to be trapped in a
railway compartment with?" Pnin seems a reasonably harmless choice; on my
railway journeys I always seem to find myself sitting next to someone more like

Jerry Goodenough
University of East Anglia
Norwich NR4 7TJ
E-mail: j.goodenough@uea.ac.uk