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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me By Your Name (2007)

by André Aciman

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
The blurb on the back cover totally took the words right out of my mouth!

Rich, sensuous, erotic, heartrending, extraordinary in every sense and most importantly, filled with expansive and beautiful prose. This book is utterly underrated and I want everyone to BUY A COPY AND READ IT ALREADY!! ( )
  novewong | Jul 8, 2015 |
Even though I read it years ago, Andre Aciman's Call Me By Your Name is a novel that has left quite an impression on me.

Simply, it’s the story of Elio, a teenaged boy who falls in love with Oliver, a summer guest at his professor parents’ Italian villa on the Mediterranean. Nothing particularly dramatic happens. It’s just an exquisitely rendered portrait of the all-consuming, angst-filled first love, lust and longing of adolescence. It strongly recalls another novel of youthful desire on the Riviera (and another personal favorite), Francoise Sagan’s classic, Bonjour Tristesse, and doesn’t suffer the comparison.

So many of Aciman's images are so specific, so sensual and tactile – the family taking lunch on the cliffside terrace overlooking the sea, a sultry evening at a poetry reading in Rome, the pungent scent of rosemary in the kitchen garden, the dark, oiled skin of the boys sunbathing on the beach, the erotic possibilities of a peach. But one moment in particular hints at the novel’s underlying theme. After an afternoon of sunbathing, Elio steals into Oliver’s bedroom, only to find the other boy’s red swimsuit hanging to dry in the closet. Overwhelmed by desire, he brings it to his face, breathes it in and then puts it on. The novel so accurately depicts that aching first love when you not only want to be with the other person, but you want to actually be them, as well. Elio is envious of Oliver’s ease, “…with his body, with his looks, with his antic backhand, with his choice of books, music, films, friends,” and most significantly, with being Jewish. Something that Elio, growing up in the seat of Catholicism, is decidedly not. Elio is a typical teenager, awkward and unsure of himself. He sees Oliver as an ideal. So often those first crushes have an element of that. I can’t say how many times I started listening to the favorite music, reading the favorite books or watching the favorite films of some boy I secretly adored. I imagine therein lies the significance of the book’s title.

The story wraps up with a brief coda showing the men meeting again as adults. Their reunion is poignant and bittersweet. A perfect ending to an enchanting jewel of a novel. ( )
  blakefraina | Feb 15, 2015 |
It's hard to tell if this is actually very good or if it's just very good at emotional manipulation. Probably both. ( )
  danlai | Sep 1, 2014 |
When I was younger, a book on young love like this would fill me some kind of dread, which was mostly centered on my own fear of finding or not finding the love of my life. Through the stories I was able to live through the experience of finding, of losing, of living through such loss, and of moving on. This vicarious living was sort of a parallel life that existed alongside with my real adventures and mishaps in love and relationships.

The story of Elio and Oliver reminded me of the previous books on young love that I have read through the years. In particular, "Dream Boy" by Jim Grimsley. Religious fervor pervaded this book but the emotional connection between the two, much younger protagonists was similar in its intensity. Another book was "Like People in History" by Felice Picano, which covered the last 60 years of American gay life through the lives of two gay cousins. One character's recollection of their youth was as touching as the recollection of the narrator Elio.

Elio was a precocious teenager in the story, and his version of his affair with Oliver was full of awkwardly funny and painful incidents wherein every word and gesture was exhaustively analyzed, down to whether Oliver is conveying secret messages in his choice of swimming trunks. His schemes and machinations reminded me of another precocious youth's brazen modes of seduction in "A Boy's Own Story" by Edmund White. While the pain that came with the protracted end of an affair and the confusion on how to cope with such a loss reminded me of "Nightswimmer" by Joseph Olshan, a book that also resonated with me when I read it many many years ago.

"Call Me By Your Name" was narrated by Elio, who had to give up his bedroom every summer for visiting academics who came to his parents' house in the Italian Riviera as his father's guest to spend six weeks working on their manuscripts before publication. Elio soon became infatuated with Oliver, the 24 year-old Heraclitus expert from the US. Elio would spend a good part of the summer pining and fawning over the handsome academic who seemed indifferent and aloof to his thinly veiled amorous advances. However, as autumn approached and Oliver's return to the US drew near, their relationship intensified into something that transformed everything that followed hollowed and seemingly unreal.

Summer love was never this hot, this painful, this emotional, and this profoundly affecting. The narrator might be an adolescent, but his experience was universally relatable. Probably due to my age now, instead of filling me with the aforementioned dread, I found myself identifying with the narrator as he went through every excruciating stage of his passion for this other person. Memories of my awkward years surfaced and intensified my reading experience. The book effectively explored the vagaries of infatuation, the fears within impending starts and ends of a relationship, the sorrows of lost love, and the elusive peace that memories of the past years can bring.

The prose is flawless, haunted by Marcel Proust's style, contemplative and blunt in the right places, tender and brutal as any experience of intimacy can be. The long, seemingly meandering sentences reminded me of the way I wrote when I was in my 20s and I found them a delight to read instead of being tiresome.

Many of the lines really struck me. Like this, taken from the part where Elio's father spoke with him after Oliver left for the States, and Elio was feigining indifference to this separation, a pretense that his father, a revered academic, saw through. He said:

"... if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt at the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything--what a waste!”

Imagine hearing something like this from your own father after seeing you silently suffer from heartbreak. Even Oliver commented that Elio was lucky to have a father who felt like that, adding that is his own father learned of his affair with Elio, he'd have been institutionalized in a heartbeat. After so many years, Elio and Oliver finally meet again, under quieter circumstances. And Elio comes to a realization on what he had with Oliver. To me this paragraph would have sufficed as the ending of the book but the ending didn't happen until a few pages after this paragraph. To me this summed up everything that Elio and Oliver went through:

“…. It would finally dawn on us both that he was more than me than I had ever been myself, because when he became me and I became him in bed so many years ago, he was and would forever remain, long after very forked road in life had done its work, my brother, my friend, my father, my son, my husband, my lover, myself. In the weeks we’d been thrown together that summer, our lives had scarcely touched, but we had crossed to the other bank, where time stops and heaven reaches down to earth and gives us that ration of what is from birth divinely ours. We looked the other way. We spoke about everything but. But we’ve always known, and not saying anything now confirmed it all the more. We had found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”

To find the stars in each other. If that isn't total intimacy, then I don't know what is. ( )
  pinakadalisay | Jul 27, 2014 |
Was supposed to read this for a book club, but just couldn't slog my way through it. The self-consciousness and adolescent angstyness of it just went beyond what I could tolerate. I know it's a great book, but just not for me.
  mochap | Apr 11, 2014 |
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For Albio, Alma de mi vida
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031242678X, Paperback)

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

A Washington Post Best Fiction Book of the Year

A New York Magazine “Future Canon” Selection

A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year

One of The Seattle Times’ Michael Upchurch’s Favorite Books of the Year

An Amazon Top 100 Editors’ Picks of the Year

An Amazon Top 10 Editors’ pick: Debut Fiction (#6)

An Amazon Top 10 Editors’ pick: Gay & Lesbian (#1)


Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera.  During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. André Aciman's critically acclaimed debut novel is a frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

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The sudden and powerful attraction between a teenage boy and a summer guest at his parents' house on the Italian Riviera has a profound and lasting influence that will mark them both for a lifetime.

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