I’m hesitant about writing a review for fear of not being able to do the book justice. I want to write a review that is fully compacted with all of my thoughts and feelings that makes everyone give up what they’re doing and start reading “Call Me by Your Name” immediately, but perhaps it’s impossible since I myself can’t even articulate them.
André Aciman exquisitely portrayed in first-person the thoughts, fantasies, shames and agitations of our protagonist, Elio, in his 17th summer, during the 1980s. The young man lived with his parents at their luxurious villa on the cliffs of the Italian Riviera. Oliver, a 24-year-old American academic was invited to become a summer guest at the Italian house to help Elio’s father with the correspondence and assorted paperwork while revising his own manuscript before publication. Women were usually Elio’s fascinations but they are not his primary interest this specific summer, because he fell head over heels into a deep romantic and sexual obsession with the new summer guest. The description seems thin at first, almost ephemeral and tedious, but the book is far from an ordinary coming of age LGBT novel. Don’t get me wrong, of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but I just got myself the impression that their love for each other transcended the mere concept of gender and they were simply two individuals in love that just so happened to be men. The story itself is special because of the relentless accuracy in its detailing of each precise doubt and hope.
The imperfections of the characters in the book are infuriatingly and bitterly real and relatable. Although I appreciated the story of “Call Me By Your Name”, I was mostly enticed by Aciman’s manipulation of language. The book contains a great many of sentences that are written so poetically alluring I sometimes found myself stopping to reread them simply for the ecstasy of luxuriating in words. I can’t bring myself to comprehend the idea of writing about something as nebulous as lust, desire, obsession and passion with such integrity and rationality.
In closing, I think the book got under my skin like no other book has ever quite managed to do and I will probably find myself reread this one multiple times in the near future. But the review that I wrote here is nowhere near the book’s standard and I’m sure that other people will do a much better job at it; I just needed to note down my feelings and my insignificant opinions in order to fulfill a promise and to attract more readers to the masterpiece that is “Call Me By Your Name”.