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In a Lonely Place, Watching

 

Enigma VariationsEnigma Variations
by André Aciman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
288 pages, $26.

 

 

IN ENIGMA VARIATIONS, novelist and essayist André Aciman continues to explore the themes he first introduced in his splendid 2008 novel Call Me by Your Name. Aciman, a Proust aco-lyte, shows traces of the grand French novelist in his writing, but his latest novel feels more indebted to the Hungarian novelist Péter Nádas (another of Proust’s literary sons), who also explores sex, bisexuality, and psychological ambiguity in his novels. But while Nádas’ writing about sex can stretch to nearly a hundred pages and border on pornography, Aciman favors a more restrained approach. Also, Nádas’ characters operate under the shadow of totalitarianism while Aciman’s move freely in the upper echelons of capitalist society.

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