Eight White Nights: A Novel

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Despite its nods to Dostoyevsky and Rohmer, and for all the references to well-worn landmarks of a familiar city, it is an original to the core.

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Then again, Aciman has never failed to be original. Nor is he a stranger to questions of love and alienation. His first book, "Out of Egypt," was a beautifully wrought memoir of his childhood in Alexandria, Egypt. His novel "Call Me by Your Name" was a delicately nuanced, erotic coming-of-age story about a boy's homosexual affair in Italy. With "Eight White Nights," he moves into new territory, probing a rarefied urban culture that seldom has been explored in quite the same way.

The question he finally asks is one Dostoyevsky would surely have appreciated: How can a human being measure a fleeting moment of happiness? Or is it enough for us simply to hold it, cherish it and feed on the warmth of its memory for the rest of our wintry lives? Eight chapters, one for each night, trace a nascent love affair between two something New Yorkers.

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There is the nightly rendezvous at a Rohmer film festival, to which neither will unquestionably commit but each hopes the other will make. Each meeting seems freighted with the unspoken, even though along the way, the lovers develop their own playful language. While it can be cloying to the reader, it feels shockingly, astutely realistic. It is a fascinating, sometimes infuriating duet the couple dances, the recounting of which often gets mired in the over-the-top, narcissistic replaying of events and conversations.

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  • Eight White Nights | André Aciman | Macmillan.

Just talk to each other and stop reading between the lines. About this Guide The following author biography and list of questions about Eight White Nights are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book. We hope that this guide will provide you a starting place for discussion, and suggest a variety of perspectives from which you might approach Eight White Nights.

About the Book A young man goes to a Christmas party in upper Manhattan where a woman introduces herself with three simple words: "I am Clara. What role do language and speech play in the novel? What is the significance of the two characters' invented words and inside jokes such as "otherpeoples", "amphibalence", and "trenches"? Why does Aciman choose not to reveal the narrator's real name, or his occupation? Why does this make the repeated use of the phrase "I am Clara" in the first night so meaningful? Why do you think Aciman chose to set a novel about Jewish characters at Christmastime?

Is there any significance to Clara's name? Why eight nights?


How reliable is the narrator, or "Printz Oskar", at pinpointing Clara's emotions and intentions? Do you feel like you are able to understand her character, or does she remain enigmatic? What does a "door number 3 question" mean? How did you feel about the narrator when he described his older lover with whom he fell out of love and left, and then discovered she had died? Did you sympathize with him, or feel angry at his indifference? Why is Printz so fixated on Inky throughout the story?

Why does Clara take him to meet Inky's grandparents? What roles do music and film play in the characters' developing relationship?

Would their relationship have been possible without the influence of Rohmer and classical music? On the fifth night, what really happens between the two characters that causes the riff?

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EIGHT WHITE NIGHTS by André Aciman | Kirkus Reviews

Is Clara right to be wary of Printz and his intentions? Is Printz really afraid of disappointment — or something else?

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The narrator places great importance on every word, gesture, and thought from himself and Clara, as if every moment brings them either much closer or further apart. What makes their courtship so precarious? Is their tangled dance necessary to bring them together, or does it just complicate and prolong the inevitable?


What does the revelation at the end about Printz's mother's unhappy marriage to his father mean to Printz? Whose is the voice telling Printz to "go back" at the end and not enter the party? Will he finally be able to ignore it? See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Show More. Reading Group Guide About this Guide The following author biography and list of questions about Eight White Nights are intended as resources to aid individual readers and book groups who would like to learn more about the author and this book.

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  8. Girls in White Dresses. Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and cakes. They wear pastel dresses View Product. Thrilled by the challenges of her education, yet repressed by the school atmosphere, she began writing letters White's Confession: A Novel.

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    It is a combative love; its changeable goadings are surgical, seeking to amputate the self-indulgent hesitations of her would-be lover.

    ‘Eight White Nights: A Novel’ by André Aciman

    Our glimpses of Clara are the liveliest and most engaging part of the book. Even when ostensibly about her, the subject is himself, and the subject wears out as it elegantly talks itself into near invisibility. What Rohmer suggests, though -- indelibly, yet with a breathtaking, buoyant elusiveness -- Aciman pounds away at explicitly, devotedly. And then there is Proust. But there is a world of difference. About Us. Brand Publishing. Times News Platforms. Facebook Twitter Show more sharing options Share Close extra sharing options.