05 October 2011

Review: Eight White Nights - Andre' Aciman

I have recently finished reading one of the most fantastic and memorable books I have ever had the privilege to read.  Eight White Nights by Andre' Aciman is not in my usual genres to read by any means, with most of my favourite books having at least one sword battle or some magic, but as I was browsing a discount bookstore that had recently opened up in my area by chance I grabbed this book and thought I'd give it a go.

I'll be honest and admit that I only justified buying it at first because it was set in New York City, but as I sat down, not really expecting much at first (as I had never read this genre nor author before) I can honestly say I was vehemently hooked before the end of the first chapter.  It was absolutely enthralling, I loved every page.  Perhaps I am just naive and am not used to this style of writing therefore I am automatically impressed the first time I am exposed to it, however, and I believe this is to be the true case, it is in fact simply a brilliant book by a brilliant author and anyone, regardless of genre preference, would enjoy it just as much as I.

I would read it every single day while on the bus, then even late into the night despite having work early the next day. Some chapters shook me to the core, I thought I had dissected the characters' personalities and quirks quite accurately only to be thrown off course at a turn of the page. Brilliant stuff!

While reading I would sometimes come across a quote or line that really latched on to my being, so I would write them down for safe keeping:

     P216 - Clara: "Don't you think that if you've never wanted to be known by anyone the way I know you it's because I may want the same from you?"

I loved this line, it was so honest, so straightforward, it was a welcome relief from the otherwise cryptic messages that the main characters insisted on presenting to one another.  I got the sense that it took a lot of effort and self-sacrifice for Clara to say this, but I know I for one was glad she had.

    P243 "But if we do become strangers, and I do learn to hate you, and watch you turn your back as soon as I walk into a room, just know this: that no part of me will ever forget this week."

A lovely line.  It breaths desperation as the character was so afraid of what they might lose, so afraid that they cast aside their defences that they had kept held for so long and just said what they felt. It resonated in me quite profoundly my own fears of how love might be in my own future, will I too go through this fear some day? Perhaps I now know the perfect line to say if it does arise someday.

   P256 "Printz, I shouldn't tell you this, because you don't deserve it, but you're the best thing that's happened to me this year."

Again we see the warmth in the otherwise almost hostile shield the characters protect themselves with. These little moments of selfless admissions mean the world to the ones they are intended for, and I know as I read this I could imagine how powerful words such as these would be if ever said to me by someone I cherish.  Or, in other circumstances, if I said them to someone else even.

Out of context these lines won't make much sense I know, but I didn't want to give anything away, and I mainly posted them here to get them out of my emai inbox where they have been sitting acting as reminders for the last few months.

It was a sad day when the last page was turned as I knew I had just finished for good what had been quite the moving experience over the last few weeks that it has taken me to finish the book.  I may seek out other books by Mr Aciman, or I may purposely not in an effort to preserve what I believe was one of the most perfects reads I have ever come across.


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