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Clara spends much of the time talking about her ex-boyfriends; the only real moment that we might understand love for her is when she sings at a party. But they are few and far between.
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Eight White Nights
Tuesday 18 September But what if our lovers are contemporary New Yorkers, untouched by war, unfazed by society's obstacles, whose only barrier to the other's heart is a feverish, overactive brain? The comparison to Dostoyevsky is not a casual one. The Russian master's short story "White Nights" lingers over Aciman's novel as firmly as fog over a St. From the lovers' chance meeting to their immediate, mutual fascination to the revelation of a troubling former liaison, Dostoyevsky's four surreal nights are embedded here like a literary genetic helix.
But beyond that, the similarities stop.
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Petersburg or anywhere else. Strung tightly between Christmas and New Year, as well as between two apartments on the Upper West Side, it involves two protagonists who are equally educated, equally well-off, equally aware of a defining Jewishness and equally ardent aficionados of Rohmer films, Handel sarabandes and unorthodox cocktail conversations.
Book World: Marie Arana reviews 'Eight White Nights' by André Aciman
They are also equally hamstrung by their own minds. Their love story begins at a flamboyant Christmas Eve party in a swank, th Street penthouse.
From anyone else, that overture might seem flat-footed. But the woman is a striking brunette with a lithe figure, an arrogant chin, a diaphanous red blouse unbuttoned to her breastbone.
I am Clara , "spoken with the practiced, wry smile of someone who had said it too many times to care how it broke the silence. With the hasty familiarity of people who, when it comes to other people, couldn't care less and haven't a thing to lose.
Eight White Nights by André Aciman
Before long, the two are understanding one another completely, speaking in code, coining vocabulary that will follow them through the next eight days of a dizzyingly obsessive courtship: Shukoff" for the bores they wish they could shake off but can't. The next few days unfold in an uptown bar, an artsy movie theater, an old man's house on the shore of the Hudson River. There are a few irksome matters to resolve: