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Harvard Square : a novel

by Aciman, André.

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 5 copies
Available (4)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Aciman
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Aciman
Cooper-Siegel Community Library Fiction FIC ACI
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC ACI
Dormont Public Library Fiction F ACIM
Location  Dormont Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  F ACIM
Moon Township Public Library Fiction F ACIMAN Andre
Location  Moon Township Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  F ACIMAN Andre
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
CLP - Squirrel Hill Fiction Collection CHECKED OUT
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Fiction Collection
André Aciman has been hailed as "the most exciting new fiction writer of the twenty-first century" (New York magazine), a "brilliant chronicler of the disconnect...between who we are and who we wish we might have been" (Wall Street Journal), and a writer of "fiction at its most supremely interesting" (Colm Tóibín). Now, with his third and most ambitious novel, Aciman delivers an elegant and powerful tale of the wages of assimilation--a moving story of an immigrant's remembered youth and the nearly forgotten costs and sacrifices of becoming an American.It's the fall of 1977, and amid the lovely, leafy streets of Cambridge a young Harvard graduate student, a Jew from Egypt, longs more than anything to become an assimilated American and a professor of literature. He spends his days in a pleasant blur of seventeenth-century fiction, but when he meets a brash, charismatic Arab cab driver in a Harvard Square café, everything changes.Nicknamed Kalashnikov--Kalaj for short--for his machine-gun vitriol, the cab driver roars into the student's life with his denunciations of the American obsession with "all things jumbo and ersatz"--Twinkies, monster television sets, all-you-can-eat buffets--and his outrageous declarations on love and the art of seduction. The student finds it hard to resist his new friend's magnetism, and before long he begins to neglect his studies and live a double life: one in the rarified world of Harvard, the other as an exile with Kalaj on the streets of Cambridge. Together they carouse the bars and cafés around Harvard Square, trade intimate accounts of their love affairs, argue about the American dream, and skinny-dip in Walden Pond. But as final exams loom and Kalaj has his license revoked and is threatened with deportation, the student faces the decision of his life: whether to cling to his dream of New World assimilation or risk it all to defend his Old World friend.Harvard Square is a sexually charged and deeply American novel of identity and aspiration at odds. It is also an unforgettable, moving portrait of an unlikely friendship from one of the finest stylists of our time.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "A Jewish Egyptian grad student is suffering through a Boston summer in the 1970s, studying for his comprehensive exams and trying to patch together enough cash for food and cigarettes. One day he wanders into Cafe Algiers, where he meets Kalaj, a thirtysomething Arab cab driver who mesmerizes the regulars with his spectacular put-downs (especially of ­jumbo-ersatz America) and his way with women. Drawn together by language (French) and nostalgia for their Mediterranean childhoods, the two spend the summer wandering from bar to bar, picking up women and talking a blue streak about everything from sex to green cards. But as the fall semester starts up, the student becomes acutely aware of the tension between the refined world of Harvard and his friendship with the often erratic and crude Kalaj, who is soon faced with the threat of deportation. Although Aciman's plotting is jumpy, Harvard Square provides an interesting look at the dilemmas of identity, the concept of home, and our enduring need to belong.--Weber, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Aciman's stock in trade is nostalgia. In his latest novel (after Eight White Nights), another autobiographical hero, this one unnamed, dreams of the past but desires it only as it is conjured in his memory. He looks back at himself as a navel-gazing Egyptian-Jewish Harvard grad student stuck in Cambridge during the lonely and hot, but game-changing, summer of 1977. To avoid studying, he remembers trawling the empty town, running into a Tunisian cab driver named Kalaj, short for Kalashnikov, at a place called Cafe Algiers. Kalaj is everything Aciman's narrator is not: loud, reckless, and brutal, his opinions fired rat-tat-tat at anyone and everyone. But he is also a doppelganger. Muslim and Jew are both outsiders in a borrowed America, exiles with nowhere to which they might return. They become good friends, sharing the little money they earn, chasing women. One afternoon they picnic at Waldon Pond, into which Kalaj urinates, a hilariously bald metaphor. Fearing he will be deported, Kalaj struggles to resist the "ersatz" allure of an America that might reject him. Our hero is torn between the camaraderie he feels for Kalaj and his desire to assimilate. Succumbing to Kalaj's uncompromising truths would mean rejecting the more nuanced hope that he might make a home in America without entirely belonging to it. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Harvard University -- Fiction.
Graduate students -- Fiction.
Egyptians -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Self-realization -- Fiction.
Cambridge (Mass.) -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2013
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 292 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780393088601 (hardcover)
039308860X (hardcover)
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