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Harvard Square (2013)

by André Aciman(Favorite Author)
3.29 of 5 Votes: 5
039308860X (ISBN13: 9780393088601)
W. W. Norton & Company
review 1: Aciman has become a favorite author. He's good at depicting the foibles of men in relationships. The main character, a doctoral student at Harvard in the 1970s, thinks he can compartmentalize all the people in his life. Toward the end an attack of gallstones packs all his colleagues and friends and lovers together in the same hospital room. It's a brilliant stroke of plot development. The body of the novel concerns the protagonist's friendship with an obstreperous cabbie, also an emigre from the Mediterranean, who both entertains and embarrasses the main character.
review 2: ok I loved it, in the end. I originally found the whole "alienated foreigner" theme to be a bummer and pretty unnecessary, as the tale itself of the time and the area seemed enough to
... more carry the reader through on its own. then there were peeks into more of the outrageously privileged lives of not only Harvard students but then everyone on staff and anyone even tangentially associated with Harvard... this hit me like a lead pipe, especially when the author contrasted their privilege with those poverty- stricken living in the same area but ultimately only able to eek out a living because they serve this upper crust. this struck very hard and I identified here. and then I got it about the theme of assimilation that rubs throughout the novel. not just becoming American but rarified and snooty -- jumbo ersatz, in its most basic form, while still seeking to oppress those whose backs you need to stand on to really stand over all by a head and shoulders. kalaj's desperate taking down of a culture and then a whole country that would never accept him. he's too strange, out there, and in the end too ethnic to be tolerated. at the end of the book, the main character sees his friend abd ultimately his own heritage slip away quietly (in a whimper, not in explosion or fire) from him, knowing it's lost forever as he's American now. less
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Poignant and insightful examination of friendship, isolation, assimilation, loneliness...
ricco di spunti. lo rileggerò, credo
never cared.
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