Lev Glebovich Ganin
Lev Glebovich Ganin (GLEH-boh-vihch GAH-nihn), the alias of a twenty-four-year-old Russian émigré who lives in a Berlin pension with several other émigrés. Bored with a dreary love affair with a woman named Lyudmila, Ganin discovers that a fellow boarder’s wife, a woman named Mary who is due to arrive in Berlin from Russia in just a few days’ time, is actually his own first love. Breaking off his current affair, he spends the next few days dreaming about the romance he shared with Mary as a youth and about the difficult conditions of their separation. Stimulated by these memories, he decides to intercept Mary at the station and to resume his romance with her. He succeeds in getting Mary’s husband, Alfyorov, hopelessly drunk on the eve of Mary’s arrival, but as he sets out to meet her train, he realizes that there is no need to renew their acquaintance, because the image of Mary that he had been reviving in his mind is the only Mary that truly matters. As the novel ends, he boards a train and leaves Berlin for the south.
Aleksey Ivanovich Alfyorov
Aleksey Ivanovich Alfyorov (ah-lehk-SAY ee-VAH-noh-vihch alf-YOH-rov), Ganin’s garrulous neighbor in the pension. Smug and self-absorbed, Alfyorov waxes eloquently about his admiration for...
(The entire section is 558 words.)