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A new edition of Andre Aciman’s 'Enigma Variations' has been released in Australia

A new edition of Andre Aciman’s 'Enigma Variations' has been released in Australia

Egyptian-born novelist Andrew Aciman published Call Me By Your Name, his story of an affair between 17-year-old Elio and a 24-year-old scholar, Oliver, to critical acclaim in 2007.  

But it wasn’t until the film adaption was released last year that the now New York-based English professor’s book received serious global airtime. Starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, the story of the to-and-fro flirtation between two young men in a summer house on the Italian Riviera has drawn a fawning cult following.

Many fans of the film discovered Andre Aciman’s immersive, lush, stream-of-consciousness prose as a result, as they rushed to read the novel that the Oscar-nominated film was based on.

But Aciman has another novel on offer that similarly evokes the sensuality, bliss and devastation of love: Enigma Variations.

The novel, first published in the US last year, follows the love life of a man named Paul, from an adolescent crush on his parent’s cabinetmaker in southern Italy to a lifelong passion he has for a girl he meets on a New England university campus. 

As well as mediating on desire, Enigma Variations also investigates the complexity and plurality of personal identity.

Aciman said of the novel: 

‘In essence we are plural. There are so many of us in us… now clearly I need to see a therapist all the time, but that’s how my life exists. I envy people who have one profession, one nationality, one religion, one identity, one sexuality, one this, one that, because they are very well centred. But then I wouldn’t want to be like them at all.'

In what the Los Angeles Review of Books called a ‘devastatingly, excruciatingly real’ description of love, Enigma Variations can beguile and move you in a way that only Andre Aciman can. A new edition of the book was released in Australia by Faber this week.

Andre Aciman visited Australia in May this year and gave an opening address to the Sydney Writer’s Festival.

See more: Why Call Me By Your Name is a revolutionary gay love story