In this paper, academic identity work is explored through an examination of its portrayal in a work of narrative fiction using a conceptual tool from literary studies. It is found that such an approach provides insights that would otherwise be difficult to uncover by more conventional methods. The analysis reveals academic identity work as an ongoing narrative process of interplay between internal (individual) perspectives, actions, and stories and external (organisational and institutional) influences. It is also found that timespace contexts – chronotopes – play an important role. They show that maintaining a coherent academic identity is fraught with challenges, particularly when navigating the multitude of perspectives on what it means to become an academic.