Daniel Smiricky (SMIH-rzhihts-kee), a forty-eight-year-old Czechoslovakian writer employed as a literature professor at Edenvale College in Toronto. Often preoccupied with memories of his lost youth and lost homeland, Smiricky lives the pains of the exile: grief, social discomfort, linguistic disorientation, and political fear. Self-absorbed and dependent on women but without one, Smiricky struggles to find a professional, social, and political place for himself in Western culture. His journeys through the academic, literary, and émigré communities provide a spectrum of ideologies, ethics, and emotions that counterpoint and contextualize his own views. With the acquisition of a beautiful nineteen-year-old girlfriend, Irene, he seems to be quieting the ghosts of his wartime past and starting life anew.
Irene Svensson, an affluent student at Edenvale College. A voluptuous blonde with a Cadillac, Irene becomes Smiricky’s lover and accompanies him to Paris during reading week. She asserts that she intends to marry him.
Larry Hakim (hah-KEEM), a sophomore in Smiricky’s American literature class. Intensely ideological, this Iranian youth engages his professor in several heated discussions of the political implications of the works of Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner. Hakim’s rabid...
(The entire section is 513 words.)