The expectation before you start this book is of the penguin being a comic character but within a few paragraphs there is a penguin that lives in a flat with the main character Viktor because he could no longer be cared for in the zoo.
Although Misha the penguin can’t speak he both expresses some of the moods of the hero, the environment and the world as he shuffles from room to room sighing. He also acts as a bridge between the isolated hero of the story and others acting as an excuse to attract friendship and fellow penguin enthusiasts.
The world of Viktor is largely a failed one with his girlfriend abandoning him, his attempt to become a novelist in tatters and his career not particularly going anywhere. He writes a short story, all he is capable of and that leads to a job writing obituaries for the as yet undead.
Problem is that after undertaking some work for the mafia he mentions none of his work has been published so one of his favourite subjects is helped out of a window. The penguin watches this with an air of indifference as a war breaks out between rival mafia gangs sparked by Viktor’s obits.