Book Review – Eight White Nights by André Aciman

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The nights are getting longer. Winter is setting in. Time to curl up with a cosy romance that takes place between Christmas Eve and New Year. A man meets a woman, Clara, at a part, and is instantly enchanted by her. Yet romance is fragile. He’s scared of opening himself up. She is as well. They barely know each other yet in some ways they know each other better than themselves. But each night brings with it new problems…will they end up together?

I was enchanted by Eight White Nights. I hadn’t heard of Aciman before but he’s definitely an author I will be keeping track of in the future because his writing style is just beautiful. This is a story that probably could have been told in about a hundred pages but the prose is so well-written that I can excuse him dragging out the moments and emotions that the protagonist feels, because it gets deep into the root of them.

But it is written for a certain kind of person. This is going to be a book you’re either going to love or hate. Either it will speak to you, and you’ll find yourself thinking about similar scenarios, or you’ll say, ‘people don’t really think like this,’ and throw the book down in frustration. Because the main character is frustrating. He overthinks everything and gets twisted up in his anxiety and doubt, but in getting frustrated with him I was frustrated with myself as well because I have been in this situation before. In some ways this is a book that many of us will have lived.

Clara is an enigmatic figure at first, and in some ways I wish that the author would have written the book from her perspective too because at points she comes across as unlikeable, and it’s only in the latter half of the book that we being to see things from her point of view. In this book romance is precious and fragile and they’re both scared of it shattering if they hold onto it too firmly. It’s more like a dream, and sometimes it’s more frightening if the dream comes true than if it drifts away like a forgotten song.

It’s an excellent read, and it’s why I read books and write stories, because I want to know that there are other people out there who feel the same things I do.

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