Enigma Vari­a­tions

By An­dre Aci­man, Faber & Faber, £12.99

Belfast Telegraph - - REVIEW - Re­view by Ver­ena Vogt

Heart­break, de­sire and loss are at the core of this novel, which charts a man’s great loves and af­fairs in five sto­ries.

Af­ter read­ing the first of those sto­ries — about a young boy’s ob­ses­sion with an older man he meets in an Ital­ian vil­lage — I was slightly wor­ried Enigma Vari­a­tions would sim­ply re­visit the ground Aci­man ( right) al­ready cov­ered in his hugely suc­cess­ful de­but, Call Me By Your Name.

How­ever, the novel then takes the reader on a jour­ney to New York, where the pro­tag­o­nist pur­sues re­la­tion­ships with both men and women that take a few rather un­ex­pected turns.

Aci­man’s great strength is the pre­ci­sion with which he writes about the com­plex­i­ties of love and long­ing — his sto­ries are all tinged with sad­ness, but also enor­mous beauty.

Pro­tag­o­nist Paul may not al­ways be the most like­able char­ac­ter, but in the end you can­not help but be moved by how his heart rules him in ev­ery­thing he does.

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