André Aciman Writing Styles in Enigma Variations

André Aciman
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Point of View

Enigma Variations is told entirely from Paul's point of view, and almost exclusively in retrospect. Only in "Spring Fever" and "Manfred" does Paul switch into the present tense, describing events in real time. Although the other sections are told in retrospect, Paul narrates the novel as if the events are occurring in real time--that is to say, Paul-the-narrator and Paul-the-character are identical. In theory, a first-person retrospective narrator should know more than the character, since the narrator has gone through the story once already. However, by conflating the narrator and the character, Aciman's novel gives a singular view of Paul. As a narrator, Paul has not grown or evolved since Paul-the-character went through the story's events. For all intents and purposes, the two are identical.

"Spring Fever" and "Manfred" are both told in the present tense, allowing Paul to be an unreliable narrator. Throughout "Spring...

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This section contains 1,773 words
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Buy the Enigma Variations Study Guide
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