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This feverish novel from the author of Call Me by Your Name takes a microscope to a torrid romance–cum–battle of the sexes between two 20-something New Yorkers. Clara Brunschvicg and the unnamed narrator meet at a swank Christmas Eve party and immediately jockey for position. The ensuing grappling plays out over the course of the seven nights between that party and New Year's Eve. The motor that makes this dual character portrait hum is the narrator's uncertainty about sardonic beauty Clara's murky intentions. Aciman knows these types well, filling their romance with coffees, wealthy friends in Hudson County, and Rohmer film festivals, and he concocts ever more complex scenarios to dramatize the tension and uncertainty. This smart book is rich with the details of how skittish lovers interact. Aciman creates a private vernacular for the two while rarely failing to miss a telling smile or let so much as a line of dialogue go wasted. At times the narrator's wordiness drags—particularly when he intersperses the play-by-play of an intense moment with an extended analysis of the scene—but, mostly, the novel is taut and entirely authentic. (Feb.)
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Aciman's mesmerizing and, at times, maddening pas de deux plunges readers into the dizzying early stages of a new relationship, with mixed results. Most critics appreciated Aciman's nods to various novelists, poets, and composers--particularly Proust and Dostoevsky--but a few found the continuous stream of clever references belabored and affected. Aciman's decision to disengage his characters from the more humdrum realities of 21st-century life (such as unemployment, the economy, and the war in Afghanistan) left them strangely uprooted and diminished, and all but the Washington Post eventually grew tired of the narrator's perpetual interior monologues. However, Aciman's acute psychological insights and poetic language made up for many of these complaints: Eight White Nights is a perceptive, if somewhat flawed, portrayal of an unusual romance.See all Editorial Reviews
Very hard to read. The authors non fiction is fine, influenced by Proust. The novels are strained, unrefined and in this case disengaged. Read morePublished 27 days ago by D. Ross
I ended up reading this book because I like Aciman.And I wasn't disappointed. However, I can't imagine that he would have wanted it produced and performed as it was in the audio... Read morePublished 17 months ago by hubbleson
I'm almost done with this book, and if the ending changes my opinion, I will change this review. That said, you know these surveys that ask for instance, the book characters you... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Vicky L.
An impromptu, composed not by the outer events that happen t o the characters, but by what happens i n their wavering minds and hearts. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by Christine de Lailhacar
If one wonders how anyone could write so interestingly about an obsession, read this book. It is totally engrossing and beautifully written.Published on May 2, 2013 by dorris okeefe
I might need to attach a snow plow to this book to get through it. I'm trying, I'm REALLY trying but the prose is so... Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by J. L. Troise
I finished this book on an airplane and I cried. I recall once years ago finishing something on an airplane and crying. Read morePublished on November 20, 2011 by Dirk van Nouhuys
Having reached page 39, I give up. I just can't get into this book at all. I started it four days ago and found it boring from the first page. Read morePublished on July 14, 2010 by Roger