Harvard Square

Harvard Square A powerful tale of love friendship and becoming American in late s Cambridge from the best selling novelist If you like brave acute elated naked brutal tender humane and beautiful prose th

A powerful tale of love, friendship, and becoming American in late 70s Cambridge from the best selling novelist If you like brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane, and beautiful prose, then you ve come to the right place Nicole KraussCambridge, 1977 A Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, is preparing to become the assimilated American professor heA powerful tale of love, friendship, and becoming American in late 70s Cambridge from the best selling novelist If you like brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane, and beautiful prose, then you ve come to the right place Nicole KraussCambridge, 1977 A Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, is preparing to become the assimilated American professor he longs to be But when he bonds with a brash, charismatic Arab cab driver nicknamed Kalashnikov, he begins to neglect his studies Together they carouse the bars and caf s of Cambridge, seduce strangers, ridicule jumbo ersatz America, and skinny dip in Walden Pond As final exams approach and the cab driver is threatened with deportation, the grad student faces the decision of his life whether to cling to his dream of New World assimilation or ditch it all to defend his Old World friend.Sexually charged and enormously moving, this is a deeply American novel of identity and ideals in conflict It is the book that will seal Andr Aciman s reputation as one of the finest writers of our time.

  • Harvard Square Best Read || [André Aciman]
    189 André Aciman
Harvard Square

  1. Andr Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth century literature He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Cond Nast Traveler as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays Aciman received his Ph.D in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, has taught at Princeton and Bard and is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at The CUNY Graduate Center He is currently chair of the Ph D Program in Comparative Literature and founder and director of The Writers Institute at the Graduate Center Aciman is the author of the Whiting Award winning memoir Out of Egypt 1995 , an account of his childhood as a Jew growing up in post colonial Egypt Aciman has published two other books False Papers Essays in Exile and Memory 2001 , and a novel Call Me By Your Name 2007 , which was chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the Lambda Literary Award for Men s Fiction 2008 His forthcoming novel Eight White Nights FSG will be published on February 14, 2010

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  1. Originally reviewed June, 2014 The Unredeemed Redeemer In your youth did you ever have an ostensible peer, a friend, who had an outsized impact on you, who seemed than a peer or friend Not someone you could marry or even hold onto of a force of nature And not an ordinary mentor in your work or craft, but a life mentor This would be someone who could leave you with the hint of an idea as to how the belief in individuals with salvific capability arose Maybe somebody like that Kevin Costner role [...]


  2. The first time I read anything by Andr Aciman was an essay called On Loss and Regret, published in the Opinion section of The New York Times I remember after a paragraph or two looking with startled curiosity at the name under the title again Who is this man who writes with such clarity of matters of the mind and heart, and about how we deceive ourselves Sometimes we ourselves do not even know what we think, but this man appears to see Since that time February 2013 I ordered several of his books [...]


  3. Longing pulses through all of Andre Aciman s books from his celebrated memoir, Out of Egypt, to his most recent novel, Eight White Nights He s a prose poet of confounding desires, an expert on Proust who ruminates on the scent of memories that haunt us.His new novel, Harvard Square, opens with a prologue set in the present day as the narrator guides his unimpressed teenage son around the campus on a college visit Everything he sees, Aciman writes, seems steeped in a stagnant vat of nostalgia, bu [...]


  4. A Surprise, But Not the Good Kind Andr Aciman s Harvard Square I had high expectations for Andr Aciman s new novel Harvard Square Friends spoke highly of an earlier novel of his I enjoyed a recent essay by Aciman in the New York Times on How Memoirists Mold the Truth He is a Proust scholar, from Egypt originally, and teaches comparative literature at City University in New York where he also directs the Writer s Institute With such rich personal history and expertise, I anticipated that Harvard [...]


  5. What an extraordinary novel this is, even ambitious than Call Me By Your Name Whereas that novel dealt with an overtly gay relationship, Harvard Square delicately explores the intimate nuances of the evolution, and ultimate dissolution, of an unlikely male friendship.The unnamed narrator is an Egyptian Jew and Harvard graduate student He meets Kalaj, a Tunisian Muslim cabdriver, in a cafe one day, and is instantly drawn to his rhetoric and outgoing personality The two could not be less alike th [...]


  6. A book that presented itself for what it was, an enjoyable 3 star book with a couple of interesting characters I would call it an honest book not promising anything than it is a trip back to student academia with all of its self indulgences and passions mildly exaggerated I would recommend it for good bedtime reading.


  7. Ugh, first I waited too long to review flu and too much work , and then ate my review So now what I can sum up my problems with this book rather succinctly While Kalaj, the compelling, charming, abrasive, manipulative and ultimately self destructive foil for our narrator is well drawn, the narrator himself is a big blank an empty and not very convincing shell That lack gives the book a hollow core And then the book just meanders I wondered about Aciman s self editing on this one I loved Out of E [...]


  8. I am an eclectic reader I usually choose a book based on the NY Times review and the things that appeal to me are quite varied, although they tend to literary fiction Since my eyesight is poor, I always read on my Kindle it is easy to adjust the font size and since I no longer drive, I can read in the car, in bed and while waiting for appointments Time that used to be wasted can now be dedicated to books that I would never have been able to read.I downloaded Harvard Square the same day I read th [...]


  9. Cambridge, Massachusetts estate 1977L inaspettata amicizia tra due giovani mediorientali mette a confronto due differenti modalit di convivenza multiculturale.Una tematica interessante nella misura in cui riflette uno dei problemi sociali che necessitano pi urgenza di riflessione.Come gestire la propria identit culturale in un contesto cos lontano dalle proprie origini Da una parte la rabbia, il rifiuto e la critica al capitalismo occidentale.Dall altra il bisogno di inserimento, la necessit di [...]


  10. I hated almost every member of my department, from the chairman down to the secretary, including my fellow graduate students, hated their mannered pieties, their monastic devotion to their budding profession, their smarmy, patrician airs dressed down to look a touch grungy I scorned them, but I didn t want to be like them because I knew that part of me couldn t, while another wanted nothing than to be cut from the same cloth A melancholic, nostalgic autobiographical novel about belonging and as [...]


  11. Andr Aciman is a poet of exile, a chronicler of displacement and its discontents.Born in 1951 in Alexandria, Egypt to Jewish parents with roots in Turkey and Italy, he and his family were expelled from Egypt by the Arab nationalist regime When he was 15, the Acimans moved to Italy and four years later to New York.His first book, the memoir Out of Egypt, was published in 1995 to enthusiastic reviews Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times compared him to Lawrence Durrell, the British author of The [...]


  12. I received a copy of this book through First Reads.Strengths Powerfully portrays the alienation and confusion that permeates any college student s life, but especially that which characterizes the foreign born college student s life One is drawn into the narrator s interior battle between remaining loyal to a relaxed, Meditteranean style approach to life and choosing to give in to the pull of the frantic, American ersatz lifestyle As is probably the case amongst many immigrants, the narrator ver [...]


  13. Best novel I read so far this year Beautifully written Great passages on the difficulty of belonging when one is an immigrant who knows he can t go back home And the awareness that it is hard to belong in a country where you immigrated as a young adult and can t don t learn the country s language and don t understand and sometimes refuse to accept the codes especially the non official and written ones.The character of Kalaj is extremely touching despite being really annoying and obnoxious At the [...]


  14. A powerfully evocative tale of a foundational friendship between two migr s one, a quiet Egyptian Jew studying at Harvard and the other, an explosive Berber cab driver who meet at the Caf Algiers in Harvard Square one hot summer in the late 1970s Aciman deftly captures what is like to drown yourself in books and ideas, and open yourself to the world, in a collegiate environment, moving from one passion to the next as you get closer to the you you think you are In fact, the frame of the tale, the [...]


  15. i chose this book because Aciman is the author of Call Me By Your Name and I loved the film Harvard Square s pace is slow, which if you re like me, is not a bad thing This is the story of friendship between two men, both immigrants, one from Egypt, the other from Tunisia, one a Jew, the other an Arab, one a PhD student at Harvard, the other a cab driver The novel takes place in the summer of 1977 We see America through the bombastic Kalaj, who refers to everything as ersatz meaning inferior It i [...]


  16. Curious and courageous readers will ride in the back, front, and jump seats of this volume s steel toed Checker Cab The dangerous jump seats are the author s offer for the safest ride.Readers who are fully alert and oriented to name, date, place, and purpose of visit will ably celebrate the rich regret and dashed hope evoked by Harvard Square A Novel Its participial past, present, and future drill and fill holes in heads and hearts.In hurricanes of once distant memories stirred by this masterpie [...]


  17. It is a great novel and I will return to it again and again because there are so many emotions in this novel I want to better understand the two characters in this movel What does the author mean when he ends the novel by saying that they love each other


  18. An Arab and a Jew became friends, or did they After finishing Call Me By Your Name in less than a day, falling in love with Aciman s dreamy, atmospheric prose, I just had to read from him, but I wasn t quite as enad this time around Harvard Square is an enjoyable read for the most part, providing an excellent insight into the life of wanderers in a strange land, with two characters who not only juxtapose each other, but see themselves in one another, but it was a bit of a drag at times.I wasn t [...]


  19. So, a Jew walks into an Arab cafe This sounds like the lead in for a bad joke but it is rather the opening of a remarkable new novel, Harvard Square, by Andre Aciman The Jew is a Harvard graduate student from Alexandria, Egypt He is a diffident student in a strange land, shy, intelligent and well prepared to make his mark in America The Arab is Kalaj, a Tunisian immigrant, uneasy in his new home and scathingly critical of everything in ersatz America He is voluble his nickname is short for Kalas [...]


  20. I loved almost every single thing about this book, and was able to gulp, greedily, its richness of pathos and humor on one rainy, miserable day at the lake With a feeling that my cold was about to blossom into a real beaut, I grabbed Harvard Square from a book stack at home and brought it north with me How fortunate a selection that was Except for a prologue I deemed to be completely unnecessary, and whose rhythm and prose read like nothing else in this thoughtfully written novel, Harvard Square [...]


  21. I was glad I picked this up from the New Fiction shelf at the library It patterns itself on Zorba the Greek or The Great Gatsby in that the narrator, who is supposed to be the passive foil to his illustrious subject in this case a fuming, fomenting, French speaking Arabic cab driver Tunisian who spends a good deal of time hanging out in cafes , is obviously the complicated and morally challenged one The narrator is an Egyptian doctoral candidate in comparative French literature at Harvard altho [...]


  22. 2.5 perhaps Andr Aciman s Eight White Nights is a tough act to follow In that novel, Aciman did such a wonderful job of keeping the reader s interest in a ridiculous obsessive relationship all obsessive relationships look ridiculous from the outside, I suppose It was one of those perfect little novels, and I look forward to reading it again.Sadly, Harvard Square does not come close It s well written, and the second half is far better than the first But despite the always intrigung theme of fitti [...]


  23. Andre Aciman is a very talented writer His latest novel, Harvard Square, is a nostalgia tale about an Egyptian man living in the States and touring Universities with his son When visiting Harvard, he thinks back to when he was a Masters student, and a roguish cab driver from Tunisia bonded with him despite his intense, borderline sociopathic personality.I was a big fan of Aciman s earlier novel, Call Me By Your Name, but as I read Harvard Square, I just couldn t get past the fairly repulsive att [...]


  24. Aciman s writing style kept me engaged, but whenever I put the book down I thought, why am I reading this The framing device was silly was the narrator telling his son about all of his sexual escapades and the horrible way he treated women and the narrator often came off as whiny I thought the book captured the fickleness of a young commitment phobic man well, and it was interesting to read about a male rather than female gold digger Kalaj s complexity as a character was definitely the strong po [...]


  25. Aciman s Out of Egypt is his best work, an honest and organic testament to memory and experience of dislocation Since then he s been writing the same book every book he writes is about displacement of some kind and memory of it , but and each new book feels less authentic This one feels as artificial as a pink Twinky The writing is stiff and rushed, characters are not believable, and the unrelenting narrative of the I suffocates The Aciman tries to be Proust like, the less like him he becomes B [...]


  26. The novel is an emotional tour de force that presents the self conscious, raw musings of a young immigrant graduate student at Harvard However, it suffers from a meagre, meandering plot and an anticlimactic conclusion The author never develops the main character sufficiently to make you care for him, and he remains an ambiguous, uncertain sort of person who is difficult to trust or get to know.


  27. I enjoyed this book in the way one enjoys vicariously walking down their own memory lane Those without an attachment to Boston or to Harvard Square s many cafes and homes may feel differently about it.


  28. Not as intimate and moving as I ve come to expect from this author Normally the relationships are so close and frenetic but there s a distance here that I found distracting.


  29. if this book doesn t end up on a bunch of year end best of lists it ll be a crime well written, thoughtful novels are hard to come by these days.


  30. I loved reading about the Square in the 70 s An interesting tale about friendship I found the writer wandered a bit.


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