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André Aciman raises these questions in the first moments of “Eight White Nights,” his ambitious second novel, and keeps us guessing until the.
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- Eight White Nights
- Eight White Nights - Andre Aciman - Häftad () | Bokus
- by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $26)
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Be the first to review this product. From 'the most exciting new fiction writer of the 21st century' New York Magazine comes Eight White Nights, a sparkling and 'wonderfully romantic' The Times Christmas novel. Availability: In Stock. Overview Details Reviews.
Eight White Nights
Products specifications. If you think making that estimation is a subjective matter, then book reviewing is not for you. Its analytic nature, no matter how much it might be disguised by a brilliant wit or a beautiful prose style, has always made criticism the slightly resented outsider among the world of letters — the guy at the party who might be there to narc everyone else out. There is an important reason for the distrust: criticism is fundamentally useless to the artist. It does a writer no more good to have his book reduced to its inner mechanics than it does for a pastor to look upon humans as moderately evolved chimpanzees.
Eight White Nights - Andre Aciman - Häftad () | Bokus
The fact that books are strictly mechanical and that humans are hairless chimps is beside the point. The problem is that sciences dislike variables, and books are afflicted by the most damnably protean variable that exists: the reader. To a reviewer, the existence of readers is a misfortune that even the best attempts of postmodernism have not eliminated. If you think sitting down with a book is supposed to be a distant, dispassionate activity, then reading has probably not been for you.
Well, I exaggerate the divide. I read this book with the intention of reviewing it, but within 20 pages it had awoken in me memories so vivid and consuming that I put away my calipers and compass and gave no more thought to primary diagnostics. Which makes the leftover task of reviewing the book something of a challenge, but I can start by saying that Eight White Nights is about falling in love — or, better to say that the novel is more interested in recreating the feeling of falling in love than in examining it.
by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $26)
It begins on Christmas Eve, when a year-old man known to us only by the affectionate nicknames he comes to acquire goes to a swanky Upper West Side party and meets Clara. He falls for her instantly; even her first words to him — I am Clara — have an incantatory charm that seem to offer a key to her personality. I am the Clara you never thought would be sitting right next to you, and yet here I am. It seems a bit much. And in truth, in the cold light of day about 95 percent of Eight White Nights seems a bit much. You quickly perceive, and more importantly, associate with, the fairy tale of flirting with the most beautiful person at the party — and having that person return your advances.
If this spell works on you as it did on me, the hundred pages that make up this first night will be one of the most pleasurable stretches of prose that you have read in a long time. So long as it continues, though, he is free to construe an almost mythic glory in her every slightest gesture. The narrator, a lonesome, poetic fellow, receives each of these intimacies — even those that cause him to suffer — with expanding joy because each adds to the tapestry of the fantasy.
The tiny but pregnant interactions move in an exquisite and exhilarating slow motion. Its effect is achieved by getting you lost in those minute involutions, and I have to quote Aciman at length to convey even a sense of this book:. Downstairs, she navigated the crowd and led me to a quieter spot by one of the bay windows, where three tiny cushions seemed waiting for us in an alcove.
She was about to place the dish between us, but then sat right next to me, holding the plate on her lap. It was meant to be noticed, I though, and therefore open to interpretation. All I could think of was her collarbone and its gleaming suntan. The lady with the collarbone.
The shirt and the collarbone. To a collarbone. This collarbone in two hundred years would, if it was cold in the icy silence of the tomb, so haunt my days and chill my dreaming nights that I would wish my own heart dry of blood. To touch and run a finger the length of her collarbone. Who was this collarbone, what person, what strange will came out to stop me when I wished my mouth on this collarbone? Collarbone, collarbone, are you not weary, will I be grieving over collarbones unyielding?
I stared at her eyes and was suddenly speechless, my mind in disarray. My thoughts were all tousled and scattered. This is a summery fairy tale — a kind of raspberry aimed at the mortuary romanticism of Death in Venice. The love between Elio and Oliver is almost completely uninfected by guilt or loss. It is also consummated by extraordinarily graphic sex.
These scenes are simultaneously rhapsodic and anatomical, and I have spoken to a few people who cringe at their earnest, stylized eroticism.