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’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.
Author: André Aciman
“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had not changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dreammaking and strange remembrance.”
Call Me By Your Name was lyrical prose at its best. Aciman has written a masterpiece that rings with emotion, youth, and passion, both the good and the bad.
Elio is a young man summering, as he always does, at his family’s vacation home in a unnamed coastal town in Italy. A temporary resident arrives, as they do each summer. This one is Oliver, an American there to finish his book’s manuscript.
The two are instantly attracted to one another, but, afraid of feelings neither has ever fully explored (or allowed to flourish) before, they waste weeks pretending they are not. But that can’t last, because the passion that grips each of them is just too much. The wild ride of romance that follows—known all the while that it is destined to be fleeting—is breathtaking, as poetic as it is frank.
“Did I want him to act? Or would I prefer a lifetime of longing provided we both kept this little Ping-Pong game going: not knowing, not-not-knowing, not-not-not-knowing? Just be quiet, say nothing, and if you can’t say “yes,” don’t say “no,” say “later.” Is this why people say “maybe” when they mean “yes,” but hope you’ll think it’s “no” when all they really mean is, Please, just ask me once more, and once more after that?”
This book was an honest look at the experiences of two young, Italian, Jewish men from traditional upbringings who, in the end, give in to themselves and their passion. The simultaneous conflict and relief they feel is not something I will ever experience as a heterosexual, cisgender woman. Reading this book expanded my universe and understanding of what it means to be human.
There were parts of the story that dragged on a bit or moved slowly, and there were parts that were so metaphorical and lofty that I grew too impatient to decode them, but the beautiful prose more than made up for it. I was hypnotized.