Moopy Book Club (July): Andre Aciman - "Enigma Variations"

Discussion in 'Lifestyle & Culture' started by Suedey, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Our book of the month has been selected by @RaspberrySwirl .


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    From goodreads.com:

    A passionate portrait of love’s contradictory power, in five illuminating stories.

    Andre Aciman, who has been called “the most exciting new fiction writer of the twenty-first century” (New York Magazine), has written a novel in Enigma Variations that charts the life of Paul whose loves remain as consuming and covetous throughout adulthood as they were in adolescence. Whether in southern Italy, where as a boy he has a crush on his parents’ cabinet maker, or on a snowbound campus in New England, where his enduring passion for a girl he’ll meet again and again over the years is punctuated by anonymous encounters with men; on a tennis court in Central Park, or a sidewalk in early spring New York, his attachments are ungraspable, transient and forever underwritten by raw desire—not for just one person’s body but, inevitably, for someone else’s as well.

    In mapping the most inscrutable corners of desire, Aciman proves to be an unsparing reader of the human psyche and a master stylist of contemporary literature. With language at once lyrical, bare-knuckled, and unabashedly candid, he casts a sensuous, shimmering light over each facet of desire to probe how we ache, want, and waver, and ultimately how we sometimes falter and let go of those who may want only to offer what we crave from them. Behind every step the hero takes, his hopes, denials, fears, and regrets are always ready to lay their traps. Yet the dream of love always casts its luminous halo. We may not always know what we want. We may remain enigmas to ourselves and others. But sooner or later we discover who we’ve always known we were.
     
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  2. jivafox

    jivafox Stay sexy don’t get murdered

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    My copy should be arriving this weekend :disco:
     
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  3. Mats

    Mats User

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    got my copy last week. good timing!
     
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  4. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Mine has arrive as well!
     
  5. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    ooh i need to buy my copy!
     
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  6. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I’ve started reading yesterday, so far the plot is very similar to Call Me By Your Name, and equally beautifully written.
     
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  7. Mats

    Mats User

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    it's not very THICK, is it? I forgot where I put it... I'll probably make a decent progress during my flight tomorrow. excited!
     
  8. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    It’s quite short. You’ll read it in a week, or less.
     
  9. Mats

    Mats User

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    perfect for being trapped in a converted barn in the Scottish countryside then
     
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  10. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    Hopefully there’s a sexy local you can perv on so you can relate.
     
  11. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I’ve finished reading this. Do we discuss when everyone else is finished?
     
  12. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    I think you can post your review of it if you wish and as we all finish reading it, we can post our reviews and start discussing it together.

    Perhaps we can mark your review with a spoiler tag to begin with until the rest of us have finished ?
     
  13. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I enjoyed reading this a lot. The first section was very similar to Call Me By Your Name, but with a bit of a twist and darker storyline. I loved the the timeline jumps and most of the twists, but while I appreciated that the story isn’t just a gay story, I did feel a but disappointed when the the last third was focused on his ”star love” and poor Manfred and Nanni were just tossed aside. In fact, the whole star love section was such a let down. The last twist was also a bit unnecessary and only served as a further evidence to the main character being lost/is an asshole.
    That said, it was all beautifully written, equal parts romantic and miserable- just how I want it. Most of all it was relatable, and I kept thinking this is why I’m going to end up alone, because I live for that chase and love from a distance; as soon as you get what you want you move on to needing a new challenge and someone else to obssess about. :)
     
  14. jivafox

    jivafox Stay sexy don’t get murdered

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    with you RS.
    The first story was so achingly beautiful, the rest of the book felt a bit of a let down, and the last story itself was a bit of a slog because by then I had grown to find the character incredibly irritating. An absolute vampire of a human being, a real casualty of the cult of love in that he’s always looking for it, never satisfied when he thinks he’s found it, and has no second thoughts about upending entire lives.
    Anyway, a very interesting read mostly, the first story itself made it so worth it.
     
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  15. Mats

    Mats User

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    to believe that anyone — fact or fiction — has this much profound yearning and love to go around, let alone debates the one with the other in such a casual way. who is this person?!

    that said, well written of course. Aciman is a learned man. the childhood prologue was very captivating and quite relatable, that sense of discovering and seeking out your desires. the dinner scene I thought was very amusing. and then there was something that was said in the chapter about Manfred which struck very true but I forgot what it was..

    I will probably read Call Me By Your Name but then I don’t think I can stomach any more books of his
     
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  16. jivafox

    jivafox Stay sexy don’t get murdered

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    So we can all agree bisexuals are CUNTS? :D
     
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  17. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I wonder how much of it is about himself. According to wiki Aciman is married to a woman and is bisexual.
     
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  18. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    He's very obtuse about his sexuality. I saw him at an event for this book a few months ago
     
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  19. Mats

    Mats User

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    I know one shouldn't equate authors with characters but I can't help connect him to the nestors of the novels, the father in Call Me By Your Name and Ole Brit in this, who have loved but have not drunk the wine of life
     
  20. Mats

    Mats User

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    :D

    I do like this title suggested by a reviewer on goodreads: The Pinings, Whinings, Laments and at best Musings of a Bisexual Malcontent
     
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  21. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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  22. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    I’m struggling with this. Should still be able to finish it by the end of July but please feel free to un-spoiler your reviews and discuss openly if I’m the only one left that’s hasn’t finished yet...
     
  23. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Finished it and must say I really did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I'll try and attempt a proper review but as it stands, it's a 2/5 from me..
     
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  24. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    By the way

    It's my turn for the August book club and I will change the book if it's okay with all. It's only available on hardback and I found a better choice. @RaspberrySwirl @jivafox @Beverley @Mats etc.
     
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  25. Mats

    Mats User

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    omg but I already started

    *files complaint*
     
  26. Mats

    Mats User

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    what are you fancying?
     
  27. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    What was the original choice and the new one?
     
  28. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    I'm sure The Overstory is out on paperback, babes. It's about 500 pages long, however
     
  29. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Yes I thought it was a bit too heavy for August. Can rotate it to a winter month. Was thinking of changing it to An American Marriage.
     
  30. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    But happy to keep Overstory if you’ve already started @Mats
     
  31. RaspberrySwirl

    RaspberrySwirl Leftover

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    I’m open for anything.
     
  32. Mats

    Mats User

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    I've made a reservation but might be a while before I get it but do go ahead. I have Snow to finish as well

    I agree Overstory might be better suited for autumn or later
     
  33. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    Isn't that the one I suggested?! :D

    Don't mind if you do, I can always pick something else!
     
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  34. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Yes it is!! Why don't we swap up then ?
     
  35. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    Excellent, then we'll go with An American Marraige as suggested by @Beverley (SORRY BABES x) and then have The Overstory later in the autumn.
     
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  36. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    You're welcome, gorgeous. :disco:

    Also, sorry I didn't get round to reading this. July has been a little hectic for me. The next two months are mad too, but I will try to make an effort.
     
  37. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    This was was a SLOG despite its BREVITY. I'm not optimistic about the Call Me sequel!
     
  38. Beverley

    Beverley I Don't Wanna Change A THI-ING

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    unpopular opinion - even Call Me By Your Name is a slog. so much interiority. and with such density.
     
  39. jivafox

    jivafox Stay sexy don’t get murdered

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    And it has no Timothée.
     
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  40. Suedey

    Suedey Bachelor No. 2

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    It worked for me because I mixed reading it with the audiobook, narrated by Armie Hammer.
     

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