Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere

André Aciman

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Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere

Alibis Essays on Elsewhere A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation Andr Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time place identity a

  • Title: Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere
  • Author: André Aciman
  • ISBN: 9780374102753
  • Page: 372
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011 Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, Andr Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest From beautiful and moving pieces about the memory evoked by the scent of lavender to meditations on cities like Barcelona, Rome, ParA Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011 Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, Andr Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest From beautiful and moving pieces about the memory evoked by the scent of lavender to meditations on cities like Barcelona, Rome, Paris, and New York to his sheer ability to unearth life secrets from an ordinary street corner, Alibis reminds the reader that Aciman is a master of the personal essay.

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    One thought on “Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere

    1. Kelly on said:

      Oh, I can't. I'm so sorry, Mr. Aciman, but I just cannot sit with you right now. Your world is not mine, and you make absolutely no effort to welcome me to it. You must understand that I want nothing more than do let you guide me, but you don't want to do that. You want to tell me about how pleased you are that you are in this world, and you are not interested in relating to anyone who is not already inside it. Aside from the first essay about lavender (in which I found something true enough to [...]

    2. Selena on said:

      from Intimacy: I was after something intimate and I learned to spot it in the first alley, in the first verse of a poem, on the first glance of a stranger. Great books, like great cities, always let us find things we think are only in us and couldn’t possibly belong elsewhere but that turn out to be broadcast everywhere we look. Great artists are those who give us what we think was already ours. In the words of Emanuele Tesauro: “We enjoy seeing our own thoughts blossom in someone’s mind, [...]

    3. Ryan on said:

      Nonfiction—Essay, Travel. Trade Paperback. Found after reading “Call Me By My Name” by same author.

    4. Jennifer Bernstein on said:

      On Monet: He is not even sure he’s not making it up. Which is also why he needs to paint it What he was after hangs between the visible and the invisible, between the here and now and the seemingly elsewhere.This is Aciman’s project, his compulsion: to make material these wisps of feelings, impressions, the space between places and things.Alibis is fundamentally a book about longing infinitely displaced—longing for lives not lived, past lovers, abandoned cities—with the recurrent suggest [...]

    5. Karen Foster on said:

      Read for the ReadHarder challenge 8- Read a travel memoir. Not your usual travel memoir, this is a gorgeously written collection of essays on place and identity. I loved how personal each essay was, each meditation sharing intimate musings, so specific, so evocative

    6. Mark on said:

      In his novel Eight White Nights, Andre Aciman's narrator says, "longing makes us who we are, makes us better than who we are, because longing fills the heart. The way absence and sorrow and mourning fill the heart." In the same way, the highly personal essays in Alibis explore the world of the author's memory: "It is not the things we long for that we love; it is longing itself--just as it is not what we remember but remembrance itself that we love." In the essays of Alibis the author remembers [...]

    7. Rachel Simone on said:

      Absolutely gorgeous writing. Great essays on memory, being present (not sure if that is even possible), and belonging/existing between time and place.

    8. Snem on said:

      The essays on Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Paris were my favorite. They were very evocative. I also enjoyed how the author explored his self-identity through travel. The writing, while lovely, felt almost like a lecture or presentation. It wasn't at all engaging. The tone was a little pretentious, like he felt he travels better because he doesn't go sightseeing or because in Venice he swims at the right time when the light is perfect unlike all the rest of us who swim at the completely wrong times, [...]

    9. Heather on said:

      The flap copy of Alibis describes it as "a series of linked essays about time, place, identity and art," which probably sums it up more succinctly than I could. Aciman writes beautifully about places, about cities. He writes about Venice, about Paris, about Tuscany, about Barcelona. He writes about Rome, where he lived for three years as a teenager - he and his parents were refugees from Alexandria, waiting for their visas to America. He writes about New York, where he lives now. But he's not on [...]

    10. Don on said:

      (FROM MY BLOG) It's spring, and my neighborhood is full of flowers. I breathe in the smell with a smile as I walk or run down the sidewalk. Once in a while, rounding a corner, I suddenly catch a faint scent of daphne.Daphne. The slightest whiff, and I'm thrown back to the age of 13, possibly 12. We had moved to a new house. In the basement was a storage room we called the "fruit room," with a screened vent to the outside. Outside the vent was a bush of daphne, whose scent filled the basement. Th [...]

    11. Emily Shearer on said:

      Aciman is a man of many nationalities and none, he writes in a language not his mother tongue, but eloquently nonetheless, of all the concepts I contend with in my own writing and consciousness: home, travel, exile. My two favorite essays in this collection were "Place des Vosges" and its archaeological layers of Paris, and for me of friendship, love affairs, literature and memories, not unlike my Prague; and the one about Bordighera.I was reading this book on a trip to Chicago with one Italian [...]

    12. Khanh Nguyen on said:

      After I finished "Call Me By Your Name", which has become one of my favorite novels ever, I decided to continue reading more books by Andre Aciman. "Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere" is very similar in tone. It's beautifully written, and in each essay he conveys feelings of longing, lost, love, nostalgia. My favorite is the first chapter where he explores the scent of lavender and the significance of colognes in his life. Strangely enough, I find myself identifying with what he writes and that's quit [...]

    13. Andy Winnegar on said:

      I enjoyed the essays. In some ways reminded me of Dreams of My Russian Summers by Makine. Mr. Aciman has lived in a lot of places Alexandra Egypt, Paris, NYC. He writes is clear sentences like the English Professor that he is. It seems that he desires to be where he isn't and regrets not doing enough for the people in his life. He spends a lot of time dealing with memories. I suppose most of us feel this way and it was nice to read his essays. I just started his memoir Out of Egypt.

    14. Suzy on said:

      Alibis is composed of personal reflections from André Aciman’s life and travels. The deeply personal stories mean that if you as a reader do not connect with Aciman, you probably will not enjoy this book. It is not a book focused on travel so much as Aciman’s inner thoughts in various locations. I appreciated André’s stories and reflections on life and “home”.

    15. Jeffrey on said:

      Not interested in the essays. Couldn't work up the interest to pursue this book.

    16. Blue Polo on said:

      I never liked Aciman at all, especially his treatment of the Roma.

    17. Naila on said:

      A few good essays here and there, but overall too caught up in sentimentality even as he claims to interrogate it.

    18. Chelsea McInnis on said:

      v good also v philosophical at times where it ended up losing me. Philosophy just hurts my brain

    19. Caitlin on said:

      2.5 Stars - More of a travelogue than a memoir, and more of a memoir than a collection of essays. Not what I expected.

    20. Margaryta on said:

      Great books, like great cities, always let us find things we think are only in us and couldn’t possibly belong elsewhere but that turn out to be broadcast everywhere we look, Great artists are those who give us what we think was already ours. (p. 34)Sometimes, it’s nice to sit down and read a book that feels like you’re being talked to. I don’t mean the kind that makes you feel like you’re indirectly having a conversation with the author on the topic he’s writing about, rather more l [...]

    21. E. Ce Miller on said:

      This was an amazing book to start my 2015 Reading Challenge. I have been a longtime fan of author André Aciman, but in my opinion this is by far his finest work. Most of the pieces in this collection are travel essays, taking readers to Paris and New York, Alexandria and Rome and Tuscany and Barcelona and on. Aciman explores these places with such careful intimacy--readers are not just walking alongside Aciman down the streets of Paris or Tuscany, they are closely observing the pattern of crack [...]

    22. Vera Marie on said:

      André Aciman travels with a very different mindset than you and I. We are going away from our home to a different place. He agrees with T.S. Eliot, who said, “The end is where we start from.” A journey, he says, always is FROM somewhere. But in his case, home is elsewhere in time. Since it is difficult to pin down where he comes from–anywhere he goes is also elsewhere. His essays play with the idea of memory of place, trying to recover the past, fiction that sneaks into memoir, and the ti [...]

    23. Jose Moran on said:

      I have a love-hate relationship with this book. When my boyfriend chose this book for our book club, I felt like I recognized the name ‘Andre Aciman,’ and felt like it was the right choice for us. The cover it beautiful and incited a fascination on what this book was going to be about. ‘Essays on Elsewhere’ sounds like a book about travel and reflection, which made me really excited to read. The first essay was beautifully written. It’s about how a smell of his father’s cologne drove [...]

    24. Kaylee on said:

      I don't think it should have taken me this long to slog through 200 pages, but there we have it. I definitely slogged. There's absolutely no other word for it. The writing is verbose without being enjoyable, and that's okay -- Aciman does state that he writes to find truth, not that he writes with an outline of where he's going. I'd expect meandering sentences and thoughts from that style of writing. These essays were repetitive, which also shouldn't be surprising -- the author is always in one [...]

    25. Bert on said:

      "Ik ben ergens anders. () Sommige mensen hebben een identiteit. Ik heb een alibi, een schaduw-ik." (p.225)'Ik schrijf over plaatsen, of de herinnering aan plaatsen. Ik schrijf over een stad die Alexandrië heet en die me na aan het hart moet hebben gelegen, en over andere steden die me doen denken aan een verdwenen wereld waarnaar ik kennelijk wil terugkeren. Ik schrijf over ballingschap, herinneren en het verstrijken van de tijd. Ik schrijf naar het schijnt om het verleden op te roepen, in stan [...]

    26. Scarlett Pierson on said:

      DNFRead a few essays but they did not draw me in like I thought they would.

    27. Ann on said:

      p.102"e most beautiful city on earth, just as it is the most serene. Not only is the weather and everything around us serene, but we ourselves become serene. Serenity is the feeling of being one with the world, of having nothing to wish for, of lacking for nothing. Of being, as almost never happens elsewhere, entirely in the present." p.168"He (his son) liked rituals. I liked rehearsing. Rituals are when we wish to repeat what has already happened, rehearsals when we repeat what we fear might ye [...]

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