In his new novel, Andre Aciman examines love at first sight between two skittish New Yorkers. The unnamed male narrator’s life is turned upside down by the introductory words “I am Clara,” spoken by a beautiful woman at a hip Upper West Side Christmas party. Over the next seven meetings, the lovers play out their affair against a backdrop of urban culture, New York landmarks, and wealthy friends.
The two are in an intense roller-coaster courtship that has them knowing what the other is thinking before it’s said. Clara is beautiful and bizarre, while the narrator feels that his new enchantment is moving him into a place that he is not ready to go. The story moves toward a dramatic ending on New Years’ Eve, after eight intense days.
Who knew that the words “I am Clara” could mean so much?