Call Me By Your Name is about the romance between 17-year-old Elio and Oliver, an American scholar staying with his family. Set in Italy over the course of a summer, it follows their relationship from when it blossoms up to its inevitable end.
I’d previously seen the film and absolutely loved it. With another novel this might have made the book version seem lacklustre in comparison, but with Call Me By Your Name this wasn’t the case. Despite the fact that I already knew the plot and the characters, Aciman’s writing style adds a whole other dimension to the story, picking up on the intricate little hurts and joys of first love in a way a film never could.
Call Me By Your Name is one of the most poetic, evocative books I’ve read in ages. Aciman does such a good job of transporting the reader to sunny Italy that you can almost smell the peach trees. His descriptions brought me back to hot summers spent in the south of France, perfectly capturing that lazy feeling when the days all merge into one.
To begin with I didn’t feel very emotionally affected by the book, but by the end that had completely changed. In my opinion the last section of it is by far the best. Following the characters through the twenty years after Oliver and Elio’s affair, it brings the undercurrent of sadness that’s present throughout the whole novel to the surface.
The reviews inside the book make it out to be ridiculously amazing (my dad remarked that they made it sound “like the second coming of Christ”) and any book would struggle to live up to that level of praise. Was reading it a magical, life-changing experience? Not really. But that’s not to say it isn’t a beautifully written love story, full of emotion and melancholy.
(P.S- I’d also like to give special mention to one review in particular: Nicole Krauss’s review, which describes it as ‘brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane and beautiful’, bears an uncanny similarity to the Snow Scout’s Alphabet Pledge from book ten of A Series Of Unfortunate Events– look it up and you’ll know what I mean.)