CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman | Review

“Andre Aciman’s 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. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.”  {Goodreads}

Call Me By Your Name is certainly one of the most hyped books of the past few months. Thanks to the popularity of the recent movie adaptation of the same name starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, there has been an incredible amount of buzz about this novel. While traveling to a handful of European cities over my spring break I visited many bookshops, yet there was  not a single one that did not have a display of this book somewhere on its premises. With the intent of seeing the film directly after reading it (which I still have not done…) I decided to give this highly sought after novel a try.

You know a book is great when it doesn’t pale in the face of exceedingly high expectations. I was afraid the overwhelming amount of hype would result in this book being an unfortunate disappoint, but it was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. A large part of this book’s appeal to me is the beautiful writing style. My favorite kind of writing is simple yet lyrical and brutally honest, and that is precisely the style that Aciman delivers. I also love how the voice of the Elio, the protagonist, is so strong throughout this entire novel. Writing from a first person perspective captures the emotional intensity in falling in love (and lust). What at first appears to be a simple reflection suddenly transforms into a gut-wrenching tug, as in the following quote:

“And on that evening when we grow older still we’ll speak about these two young men as though they were two strangers we met on the train and whom we admire and want to help along. And we’ll want to call it envy, because to call it regret would break our hearts.”

It also helps that the idyllic 1980s Italian setting of this novel is unbelievably captivating, charming, and enthralling. I read Call Me By Your Name in ebook form on my phone while in bed warding off the cold Oxford winter weather; however, the next time I read it (for there most certainly be a next time) I’ll be sure to do so while lounging in the sun in some sort of meadow or by a glimmering body of water. This novel screams SUMMER! with every fiber of its being, making it the perfect book to read in the warm weather.

A bookshop in Amsterdam… goes which book was number one?!

For me, the earnestness and honesty of the protagonist’s narration is what makes this novel work. Without such a likable narrator that can’t help but be empathized with, the bizarre sex scenes and strange musings about sex would feel pointless and out-of-place. However, this novel is as much about growing up and discovering oneself as it is about his burgeoning relationship with Oliver. In this way, Elio’s process of exploring his sexuality is an integral, essential component of such a story.

Speaking of sexuality, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the importance of this novel focusing on two men who are bisexual. It’s refreshing to read something beyond the usual heterosexual relationship, although as someone who isn’t bisexual I can’t speak to how effective the representation is in this case. There has been a bit of controversy due to the fact that Aciman is apparently heterosexual and therefore cannot speak to the experience of being a bisexual man. While I do not feel as though I am the right person to judge the validity of this controversy, I will say that I feel as though there is still value in such a relationship being represented in literature at all. 

Overall, I am ecstatic to say that I enjoyed Call Me By Your Name just as much as I hoped that I would, if not more so. This novel is far from your usual romantic story; in fact, I would argue that it’s less about romance than many of its other themes, such as identity, growing up, sexuality, and memory. If you’re in the mood for an emotional, intense, beautiful novel, then look no further!

What are your thoughts on Call Me By Your Name and/or the film adaptation? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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15 thoughts on “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by André Aciman | Review

  1. I definitely agree about this book screaming Summer. It’s such a fantastic read and the writing is beautiful, although it gets you hard in the feels at the end. I was really worried about the hype like you so I was super relieved it wasn’t a disappointment. Glad you enjoyed it and great review Holly! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another book to add to my list… 🙂
    That book’s quote really gave me chills. I love that type of writing and am looking forward to reading it soon.
    I haven’t seen the movie either but will probably wait till I read the book first. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! The writing is definitely one of my favorite aspects of this novel (as it is with many novels!) 🙂 Hope you enjoy it whenever you get around to reading it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. oh myyy i want to read this sm???? but the cover makes me cry for some reason, I think bc I’m scared of the ending. The MC seems so pure and I already want to protect him and make sure he’s happy
    amazing review as always I remain obsessed w your bloggg ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also just read this book and absolutely fell in love with the writing. I listened to the audio which was great, but wished I had the book to mark quotes because there were SO many. Ugh, so good. The movie is great too if you were planning to watch it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine that the audio book would be lovely as well ❤ I need to see the movie ASAP! I just sort of lost track of time and before I knew it it was no longer playing in cinemas 😦

      Like

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