Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Five top novellas of unconsummated loves

André Aciman is the author of the novels Call Me by Your Name and Eight White Nights, the memoir Out of Egypt, and two books of essays.

He named his five favorite novellas of unconsummated loves for The Daily Beast. One title on the list:
White Nights
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

White Nights is also an elegy to a love that never was. A young man called “the dreamer” walks along the canals of St. Petersburg on one of those nights in June when the sun never sets, and meets the proverbial damsel in distress. She is waiting to meet a young man who had promised a year earlier to return from Moscow on that very night to marry her. It seems he has failed to show up, and the girl is weeping. The dreamer tries to help, and fends off a man who is about to accost her with lecherous intentions. The dreamer has no friends, lives alone, and leads the most superfluous life so brilliantly portrayed by so many Russian novelists. But faced with this girl, his hopeless life prospects are suddenly illuminated. When he comes back the next white night, there she is again. She tells him of her life, he of his, and the two are practically determined to spend the rest of their lives together. But on the fourth white night, her beau returns from Moscow and whisks her away, leaving our dreamer to dream away the tremulous romance that never was.
Read about the other titles on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue