• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    Diana @ Thoughts on… on [827] The Luminaries – E…
    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,091,100 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other subscribers

[326] Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman

” You are the only person I’d like to say goodbye to when I die, because only then will this thing I call my life make any sense. And if I should hear that you died, my life as I know it, the me who is speaking with you now, will cease to exist. [240]

Having grappled with romantic loss and have yet fully recovered make me hesitate to read this book, for fear of the operatic sentimentalism and the unrequited love of the story will provoke those over-wrought nerves and sore wounds. But I’m glad I have read this book, which does give me hope and comfort in times of therapeutic nourishment. It reminds me how I can rip out so much of myself to be cured of the hurt faster than I should that I risk going bankrupt and have less to offer the next person who stumbles on my path. Never has a book spoken so profusely the truth of my mind like Call Me By My Name does. On matter of love and relationship, especially unrequited love, which leaves one party completely helpless to cope with the loss, this novel truly brings to life how one’s fear and desire are busy negotiating in the heart.

What if it came and didn’t let go, a sorrow that had come to stay, and did to me what longing for him had done on those nights when it seemed there was something so essential missing from my life that it might as well have been missing from my body, so that losing him now would be like losing a hand . . . without which you couldn’t possibly be you again. [214-215]

So hit home, rendering so bare and raw a gamut of contradicting emotions. This book is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that flourishes between an adolescent lad, Elio, and a summer guest, Oliver, at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their (secretly mutual) attraction, each feigns indifference at first, although Elio is so much more smitten at the very beginning. The first sight of the philosophy scholar, seven years of Elio’s senior, promises instant affinities.

I knew that the sofa awaited me in an hour or so. It made me hate myself for feeling so hapless, so thoroughly invisible, so smitten, so callow. Just say something, just touch me, Oliver. Look at me long enough and watch the tears well in my eyes. Knock at my door at night and see if I haven’t already left it ajar for you. Walk inside. There’s always room in my bed. [59]

That the book is told from 17-year-old Elio’s perspective accentuates the contervailing emotions that accompany the attraction: love at first sight, fear, frustration, carnal desire, shame, self-loathing, consummation, bliss, and passion. It’s a coming-of-age story with an innocence that is very loyal to one’s heart feeling.

Watching him wearing my clothes was an unbearable turn on. And he knew it. It was turning both of us on . . . It was porousness, the fungibility, of our bodies—what was mine was suddenly his, just as what belonged to him could be all mine now. [142]

Call Me By Your Name is an elergy to human passion and intimacy. For what Elio and Oliver discover during the six weeks in Italy is the one previous thing both fear they may never find again: true intimacy. Intimacy is what happens when two beings become totally ductile that each becomes the other. This book doesn’t explore the reason behind this consummate affair nor does it justify the outcome. It gives us a story of two men who have found total intimacy that marks their life, regardless of the paths they have taken afterwards.

247 pp. Hardback [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]


22 Responses

  1. This sounds like a really beautiful coming-of-age tale – and I do like those 🙂

  2. The excellent thing is that just about everyone has this experience once in their lives, and usually more. So it should resonate with anyone. But the heart is more resiliant that we think, isn’t it? I saw on FB where it made you cry, which got my attention. I want to get my hands on this one.

    • Thanks Sandy. You and a few others expressed concern about me and I thank you. Books can incredible power to touch our lives and nudge our heart-strings. This is one of the most touching novels I have read in years and it sneaks into me at an unexpected time. i thought I’ve got my top 10 reads down for the year but this one just calls for realignment.

  3. I *loved* this book when I read it a couple of years ago! I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it also. It’s one of those that I find myself randomly thinking about every now and then and fawning over when I run across it in the library or bookstore.


    • I am glad I am not the only person who loves this book. Most of my (gay) friends haven’t heard of the book, let alone reading it. It’s down for re-read and will pull at my heart-string for many years to come.

  4. This book was recommended very highly to me and I have read other glowing reviews. But there was something about it that kept me from really connecting with the emotion of it. I found myself second guessing all the details rather than getting caught up in the love story. My state of mind at the time probably had more to do with it than any fault of text.

    • May I highly recommend this book to you one more time, Thomas? I know there’s always a time for a certain book. Had I not been in emotional turmoil over relationship this year this book wouldn’t have been so resonant with me. At an initial glance of the blurb I didn’t want to read it but went ahead with it. What I thought would provoke my wound actually brought me comfort.

  5. Oh wow, this sounds fantastic and beautiful. The title is new to me but it looks amazing.

  6. I’m defnitely adding this book onto my wishlist after reading many good reviews on it!

    • You might have to special-order this title as it’s been back-ordered. My indie has it on sale right now. Let me know if you can’t find a copy.

  7. This sounds like a poignant story that we can all relate to. It is also an example of how deeply books can touch us and resonate with us on personal levels.

  8. […] [326] Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman […]

  9. […] [326] Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman […]

  10. Matthew. This book still haunts me from my first reading in 2008. It too moved me to tears, on several occasions. Aciman’s prose was able to evoke and elicit so much. It was one of those books that I started to read on a long weekend and just simply devoured, relishing every moment. It’s a gem of a book.

    • Kyle, the book provoked the same gamut of emotions in me. Some parts of it were jamming me deeper into the pain that I had. I read it almost in a single sitting.

  11. yikes! sounds all too familiar to my own “story.” I’m tracking it down, it sounds like just what i need to read right now.

    • I’m sure it will provoke your memories and pull your heartstrings. It will be wreching experience but I’m sure you’ll be glad you read it. Let me know how you think.

  12. […] book that you discovered in 2010 that you will definitely read again: Call Me By Your Name André […]

  13. […] Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman (I’ve been wanting to read this since A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook reviewed this and I found it by chance! On […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: