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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, f 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.


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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, f 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.

30 review for Call Me By Your Name

  1. 5 out of 5

    William2

    This book is a fucking axe to the heart. But because my heart, perhaps yours, too, was broken long ago, no further damage can be done. So perhaps the book's more like a probe, yes, a very discomfiting probe, making a fuller assessment of the wreckage. The book is also a final report of the survey. Finally, one thinks, here’s someone who has not only plumbed the depths of heartbreak, but who’s taken excruciatingly detailed notes along the way revealing every nuance of the required self-abasement. This book is a fucking axe to the heart. But because my heart, perhaps yours, too, was broken long ago, no further damage can be done. So perhaps the book's more like a probe, yes, a very discomfiting probe, making a fuller assessment of the wreckage. The book is also a final report of the survey. Finally, one thinks, here’s someone who has not only plumbed the depths of heartbreak, but who’s taken excruciatingly detailed notes along the way revealing every nuance of the required self-abasement. The result is an astonishing catharsis for the reader. This is what literature at its best can do. Think Aeschylus’s Oresteia, but with an all-mortal cast and without the choruses. I speak here of the novel’s sheer emotional power. For most of the novel the narrative is the first-person thoughts, fantasies, worries, shames and fears of Elio in the summer of his 17th year. The young man is with his parents at their big comfortable summer house on the Italian Riviera. It’s the mid-1980s. The boy’s father is an academic and Oliver, 24, is a young American colleague exchanging some brief work as amanuensis for room and board while finishing his own manuscript. But in the marvelous, big-hearted Italian sense, Oliver, even if for only the six weeks of his stay, is very much a part of the family. Women are alluring to Elio but they are not his predominant fascination this particular summer. Description is thin at first, almost transient, and because the reader’s not distracted by descriptive flights he or she never feels far from the anguish of Elio. Life’s first love is the theme, and this iteration is so fresh, so vivid and beautifully layered, that it’s not to be missed. Among the best parts of the novel are those passages in which Elio—before his intimacy with Oliver begins—imagines what he might say to Oliver, the multiple responses he might at any moment utter in Oliver’s presence, or imagined presence. Elio’s mind is racing with alternative scenarios. Is this even what he wants? He’s not sure but he wants to find out. Matters are thought out and after some new bit of action or information, rethought and modified. The technique reminds me of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, in which circumstances are similarly considered then reconsidered. There is a mastery of tone here that constantly astonishes and bewilders. Later in the novel, when the description intensifies, it’s as if it has been saved for just these moments of lovemaking, the confidential exchanges between the two in their subsequent walks and swims, their farewell in Rome, the devastating coda. It is the frankness between the two young men that to my mind constitutes the book’s magic. That something as amorphous as desire can be written about with such fluidity and integrity is near miraculous. The wrenching depiction of Elio’s new and utterly discomfiting passion consumes not only him but us as well. In closing, let me say that this book is likely to resound more with those with some mileage on them (real or metaphorical). The prerequisite is suffering. One can’t imagine the novel’s insights and wisdom working their wonders on anyone who hasn’t at some time put everything on the line. The end was simply excruciating yet I couldn't stop reading. Extremely powerful. I will reread this one soon. In terms of achievement, I place Call Me By Your Name on the same shelf as Madame Bovary and Lolita and, yes, very near Aeschylus too.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    “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.” I should probably issue a warning that this is a book I usually wouldn't like. I think. A summer romance up to its neck in purple prose and wandering introspection sounds like a nightmare. And yet, there was something so beautiful, awful, intoxicating and sad about Call Me by Your Name. Maybe I like it because - and “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.” I should probably issue a warning that this is a book I usually wouldn't like. I think. A summer romance up to its neck in purple prose and wandering introspection sounds like a nightmare. And yet, there was something so beautiful, awful, intoxicating and sad about Call Me by Your Name. Maybe I like it because - and I hate to admit this - there is a part of me that recognizes something of myself within it. Either you have been this kind of person, perhaps still are this kind of person, or you have not, are not, and this book will seem overwritten and alien. I, unfortunately, have experienced that deep, all-encompassing infatuation with another person. I don't personally call it love; not anymore. Instead, it's a feeling of overwhelming, almost feverish, obsession with their existence-- their body, their laugh, and everything they do or say. I’m not proud of it and I don’t think it’s healthy. But I do think this book captures it in all its intensity and sadness. Call Me by Your Name, for me, stands apart from other romances because it doesn't follow the usual formula of two people meet, cliche flirtations and angst ensue, and then finally they end up together. It's not a spoiler to say this isn't that kind of story; if you're reading it for the warm fuzzies then you're going to be disappointed. It is about seventeen-year-old Elio, who falls into a deep romantic and sexual obsession with the twenty-four year-old Oliver when the latter becomes a summer guest at Elio's parents' Italian villa. If there was ever a perfect place to set a heady novel of this kind, then it must be the cliffs of the Italian Riviera. I can feel my cold heart melting just thinking about it. We stay inside Elio's mind as he fantasizes romantically and sexually about Oliver. Aciman builds a novel based on innermost thoughts and the most painful of emotions. It is sometimes almost too much and I wanted to look away as Elio feels like he can’t get close enough; feels like he wants to crawl inside Oliver's skin. It’s an intoxicatingly romantic, intimate, physical, miserable experience. There is one moment when Elio's wise father comforts him: “Right now there’s sorrow. I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain.” Which I thought was deeply sad, though also perfect. It might not be my usual choice of book, but I think Call Me by Your Name is one that will stay with me. Sometimes it is the exceptions to my rules that I find myself remembering the most. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    “If I could have him like this in my dreams every night of my life, I'd stake my entire life on dreams and be done with the rest.” This book has been on my to-read list for a few years, but now that the film is set to be released, I believed it was time to get going and pick it up once and for all. From what I had seen of the film - that is shirtless Armie Hammer and not much else because I wanted to read the book before even watching the trailer - and from what I had heard about the book, I was “If I could have him like this in my dreams every night of my life, I'd stake my entire life on dreams and be done with the rest.” This book has been on my to-read list for a few years, but now that the film is set to be released, I believed it was time to get going and pick it up once and for all. From what I had seen of the film - that is shirtless Armie Hammer and not much else because I wanted to read the book before even watching the trailer - and from what I had heard about the book, I was up for a promising and exciting read. Oh, and a gay one, too. To be blunt, I expected more. More emotion most of all. Longing and sexual frustration dominated most of the novel, but I was looking for dramatic heartbreak and high emotions. Maybe a tear or two. Maybe I didn't connect enough with Elio, the main character. Sometimes I even disliked him. Then again I understood his aching and longing for a guy that seemed so very much out of reach. What bothered me most was the highbrow narrative style, the thousands upon thousands of cultural references to literature, music and art. I felt like someone had slapped me with a travelling guide and a Latin dictionary over and over again. It seemed pretentious and took away my interest in the novel. The writing was beautiful at times and overwhelming at others. Sentences were much too long and seemed never-ending. Pretentious, again. I can't decide if I want to give this two or three stars - I might change the rating again later. It's not that I disliked the novel, on the contrary, sometimes it was like a dream: Italian food prepared by a personal cook, strolling on the beach, lazing around in the sun, handsome and interesting people around night and day. The openness with which Aciman wrote the gay sex scenes surprised me positively. But especially towards the end, it almost bored me, for reasons that I already mentioned above. However, I have high hopes for the film adaption. It has the chance to develop the feelings and the relationship between Elio and Oliver much better and to actually make me feel something. Find more of my books on Instagram

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick Pageant

    I've put off writing this review for far too long because I'm afraid I won't do the book justice. I want to write a review that makes everyone drop what they're doing and start reading Call Me by Your Name immediately. Reading the other reviews, I find a lot of polarization about Aciman's writing style, which I loved. Some people find him pretentious, while others find his prose bordering on poetic. I definitely fall in the latter category. Most books are read for a good story and I understand tha I've put off writing this review for far too long because I'm afraid I won't do the book justice. I want to write a review that makes everyone drop what they're doing and start reading Call Me by Your Name immediately. Reading the other reviews, I find a lot of polarization about Aciman's writing style, which I loved. Some people find him pretentious, while others find his prose bordering on poetic. I definitely fall in the latter category. Most books are read for a good story and I understand that, but other books, like this one, are read for the enjoyment of language. What I mean by that is that a great many of the sentences in this book can be read and enjoyed all on their own because they're so beautifully written. Aciman has obviously labored over his phrasing to the point that I found myself often stopping to reread a sentence a few times and just luxuriate in the warm bath of words. The story itself is great because it really has the ring of truth. The characters in this book are far from perfect and sometimes infuriating. I won't discuss plot other than to say that it is bittersweet and just real. I think any gay man will see his young self in the protagonist. So, in summary, read this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    lottie

    [Sufjan Stevens playing softly in the distance]

  6. 5 out of 5

    David J

    How wonderful it is when you find a forever book. We're all Elio, aren't we? How wonderful it is when you find a forever book. We're all Elio, aren't we?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A friend of mine took me to a French film festival when I was in my 20s. The first movie we watched was about a creepy little 12 or 13 year old kid who stole a piece of raw liver from his mother's kitchen and proceeded to have relations with it. He then returned the liver to the kitchen, where his mother lovingly (and none the wiser) proceeded to cook the organ meat for her family, and then we, the audience, were subjected to watching them all eat it. The little creep then got bored with stealin A friend of mine took me to a French film festival when I was in my 20s. The first movie we watched was about a creepy little 12 or 13 year old kid who stole a piece of raw liver from his mother's kitchen and proceeded to have relations with it. He then returned the liver to the kitchen, where his mother lovingly (and none the wiser) proceeded to cook the organ meat for her family, and then we, the audience, were subjected to watching them all eat it. The little creep then got bored with stealing and sullying the family's groceries, so he started having relations with a neighborhood cat. It was at this point that I stood up and announced to my friend, “I'll be at the car. Join me when you're ready.” That night that movie made it clear to me that we just don't need to sit through every program or movie or read through every book. Not every aspect of “art” is made for us in mind. It's true that sometimes we should consider stretching our comfort zones and not always abandon something because it makes us slightly uncomfortable. But, it may also be true that sometimes something is just plain disgusting to our senses. This book, Call Me By Your Name could fall into either (or both categories) depending upon your perspective. My grandmother, who was born in 1923, was from a different time, and never, within her lifetime, became comfortable with the topic of homosexuality (to be honest, she wasn't all that comfortable with the topic of heterosexuality). Hers was not a religious bias, more a cultural one, but naturally many religious perspectives against homosexuality exist still today. This book would not have been palatable to my grandmother for that reason, and is not for everyone. I, on the other hand, have no religious or cultural bias against stories that explore sexual relations between any consenting adults. And, the homosexual relationship that happens here is actually the most palatable one to me in the entire story. To be frank, I was cheering on the Elio-Oliver relationship right from the start. THIS was not my problem. But, I'd LOVE to tell you what was. First off, this kid Elio is the most unrealistic 17-year-old character (unless you want to include any character from Jaws) I've come across in a while. Nothing about him seems legitimate, from his completely unrealistic grasp of translating the most difficult musical masterpieces to expressing insecurities about himself but then boldly proclaiming himself sexually to a man seven years to his senior. Absolutely none of his dialogue is believable and he remains a totally unformed character, from beginning to end. AND. . . not only was I perpetually frustrated with Mr. Unformed and Mr. Inauthentic Voice, I then needed to journey with him on his secret, perverted mission of finding his Dreamboy's dirty bathing suit and rubbing it all over his face and then “kissing every corner of it,” only to find himself disappointed that he didn't find any pubic hair. People, a creeper did this to my mother's dirty underwear in college and she and my father called the cops. Get it? That ain't sexy, that's creepy. And then. . . oh boy. Now (grab me a Xanax, will you?). . . the peach scene. Argh. Crumble. The peach scene on page 147 is where I closed the book and declared again, “I'll be at the car. Join me when you're ready.” I'll try to spare you the spoilers and just say that, instead of raw liver, this young man sullies a very good peach, and afterwards thinks: What a crazy thing this was. I let myself hang back, holding the fruit in both hands, grateful that I hadn't gotten the sheet dirty with either juice or come. The bruised and damaged peach, like a rape victim, lay on its side on my desk, shamed, loyal, aching, and confused, struggling not to spill what I'd left inside. EXCUSE ME?? Like a “rape victim. . . shamed, loyal, aching, and confused??” Shame on you, Mr. Aciman, for this disgusting and inappropriate metaphor. You have pissed me off, sir! Your book will remain UNFINISHED by me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    4/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste!” Phew! What an intense book, what an intense ending. Hello people, I hope you remember this lass here, I haven't written a single review in almost 6 months. Which is the entire period of my internship, the one that's almost ending now. So 4/5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything - what a waste!” Phew! What an intense book, what an intense ending. Hello people, I hope you remember this lass here, I haven't written a single review in almost 6 months. Which is the entire period of my internship, the one that's almost ending now. So I picked up reading again, how fucking happy that makes me you have no idea. So, back to the chase. 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. My experience with this story starts with the movie. Yes, I committed the dreadful sin of watching the movie before reading the book. And yes, I'm a bookworm. FUCKING ARREST ME ALREADY, BITCH. But anyway, I watched the movie, fell in love, bought the book with a 5 euro deal from Book Depository, fell in love again. You see, this book has no plot. I hate books which contain no plot, and things just happen without a specific order or reason. But this book worked because it entailed no plot. This book conveys in us the raw and true and sinful emotions and feelings of Elio, a very special and intricate character, which at the age of 17 falls in love with a 24 year old man. What is more beautiful than this? His emotions are so real that they take form, we can smell them, eat them, feel them ourselves. This book was so mesmerizing, the writing was so poetic and John-Greeny at times, but it suited it. This kind of writing was needed, otherwise the book wouldn't be as gripping as it was. The ending absolutely and irrevocably annihilated my feelings. This ending wasn't included in the movie, it was something entirely new to me and I don't know how it will work with an alleged sequel I'm hearing is at works, but i'm excited to know the outcome. I truly hope, we will all find love like this in our lives. Their love moved me in many aspects, and I wish love just like this exists in this world. I want people (and myself) to feel this love to their bones, and always feel young because of it. Anyway, till the next one K BYE!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    2.5 stars As a gay man, I feel happy seeing queer intimacies receive more acceptance and popularity, as evidenced by this book's film adaptation this year. I appreciate the pulsating emotions of lust and desire in Call Me by Your Name, even if my own first crushes did not manifest into much of anything. However, I struggled to get into this book. The writing felt too distant, intellectual, and heavy for me to immerse myself in Elio and Oliver's world. The book contained so much introspection and 2.5 stars As a gay man, I feel happy seeing queer intimacies receive more acceptance and popularity, as evidenced by this book's film adaptation this year. I appreciate the pulsating emotions of lust and desire in Call Me by Your Name, even if my own first crushes did not manifest into much of anything. However, I struggled to get into this book. The writing felt too distant, intellectual, and heavy for me to immerse myself in Elio and Oliver's world. The book contained so much introspection and I wanted more scenes, to get us into these present moments with the two lovers. And while I understand that the book aims to portray infatuation, I found myself bored at times with Elio's obsession with Oliver. Could he have thought some more about the healthfulness or unhealthfulness of his feelings for Oliver? Or could Andre Aciman have included more details about these characters other than their feelings for one another, to make them both more three-dimensional? I wish we had received more from these characters: more dialogue, more development, and more insight into their desire for one another. Overall, an okay book that I am curious to see as a film, as I predict the movie may better portray the emotions of the book through lush and/or lustful visuals. If you want a high-quality gay romance this holiday season, check out A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz , and Imagine Me Gone and You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett. Still, yay for a gay romance garnering attention, even if it does feature two white leads and conventionally attractive characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I wanted to make fun of this maddening book, but really, I must just want to make fun of myself for loving it. The bare bones of the story could have been assembled using some kind of Gay Coming of Age Novel Trope Generator. Teenager. Grad student. Italian beach. Fruit. Poetry. Jealousy. Sex. Loss. More poetry. But. I agree with whoever likens Aciman's approach to Proust's (which is probably everybody who has read both Aciman and Proust.) This is not a Gay Coming of Age Novel, at all; it's an el I wanted to make fun of this maddening book, but really, I must just want to make fun of myself for loving it. The bare bones of the story could have been assembled using some kind of Gay Coming of Age Novel Trope Generator. Teenager. Grad student. Italian beach. Fruit. Poetry. Jealousy. Sex. Loss. More poetry. But. I agree with whoever likens Aciman's approach to Proust's (which is probably everybody who has read both Aciman and Proust.) This is not a Gay Coming of Age Novel, at all; it's an elegy for desire, for memory itself; and it manages to visit that interior terrain of longing most notably visited by A LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU, without begging a side-by-side comparison. (Which is a feat in itself. What novelist could really survive a direct comparison to Proust? Best to avoid it.) The frustrations of the novel only become apparent once the spell of Aciman's spare but lovely prose has been broken. While reading it, I never thought to sneer at the clichés, or at the problems of a seventeen year old child of wealthy intellectuals. I was too entranced by the salt breezes and the sunlit stones, and the daily rituals of swimming, breakfast, dissertation work, coffee, dinner guests, town, bed, and the millions of specific new shades of pain that result from each and every moment spent around, and away from, the narrator's object of desire. There are some story frustrations here, to be sure, but from this book, I was only expecting a bit of light escapism for my subway ride. My expectations were so successfully shattered, it was almost uncomfortable to read it in public. "This novel is hot," wrote NYT reviewer Stacey D'Erasmo. Hell, yes. The heat here is not the heat of sex acts, however, (though there is that) but the heat of an ever-building, single-minded, raw-gutted longing, and the pain of remembering it. The heat is the agony of obsession, when any solitary glance or casual exchange can be sharpened with two, three, ten edges of conflicting meaning. I don't know that I've ever read a book so relentlessly accurate in its detailing of each precise doubt and hope, but mostly doubt, that colors any interaction or lack of interaction with the object of one's desire. These precise doubts are separated out and distilled purely and tightly and lucidly by Aciman. He just does not let up. This was the great surprise of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, for me. As much as I thought I'd want to throw this book down at times, I almost missed my stop because it would not let me go.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julio Genao

    A/N 03/18: i did this. and like all my public mistakes, erasing the evidence of it won't erase the consequences. it stays. as much to remind me how it happened as to accept that it did at all. little intimacies. of the many, many aspects of this book that resonated with us, one in particular was the basis of an interesting exchange between me and author santino hassell. that exchange is excerpted below. SH: what do you think so far JAG: i like it. it's very good at being what i think of as authentic t A/N 03/18: i did this. and like all my public mistakes, erasing the evidence of it won't erase the consequences. it stays. as much to remind me how it happened as to accept that it did at all. little intimacies. of the many, many aspects of this book that resonated with us, one in particular was the basis of an interesting exchange between me and author santino hassell. that exchange is excerpted below. SH: what do you think so far JAG: i like it. it's very good at being what i think of as authentic teen gay boy POV SH: it reminds me of something JAG: it reminds me of a lot of things SH: the parts where he's talking about how hot and cold the love interest dude gets JAG: yes, with his facial expression SH: yeah JAG: that, specifically that. i've been there. with someone like that. it's a little scary. and then you understand them and it stops being scary, sometimes SH: yes. i had a friend like that. when i was a kid. i thought i was in love with him but he was straight JAG: i was thinking of the exact same thing. i had the exact same thing. a friend, when i was a teen. he'd be warm and affectionate and then his face would go cold like i was a stranger SH: yes. that's how my friend was. i think he suspected i wanted him. he didn't know how to feel about it JAG: that's what that scene in the book is about. they realize you have deeper feelings and they don't know how to deal, and then their face goes fucked, in this moment of vulnerability. they can't hide the panic or the revulsion SH: yes JAG: and it looks like that SH: yes JAG: because straight dudes can feel warm affection for you too, obviously. and for a moment—with some of them—they feel... when they realize you want them, they feel that their affection has left them exposed. like their affection has been abused SH: that's exactly what my friend acted like. like all the times we'd been close, i'd taken advantage of him. he suspected me. and then he found out when he caught me and another boy fooling around in the locker rooms. found out that i really was bi. and then he knew he'd been right about me, and didn't know how to handle it JAG: in the book, i recognized it right away. that feeling of ...recoiling SH: yes JAG: of resentment. it looks like that SH: that was... a horrible experience JAG: it happened to me too. i wonder if it happens to every queer person SH: i wonder the same thing JAG: like imagine you're a girl, you have your best girl friends, going to the bathroom together, secrets, sharing lipstick... SH: yeah JAG: little intimacies. and then you tell your girlfriends you're queer and they remember all those times, all those intimacies SH: that's what happened with him, with my friend. he listed all of these things and acted like i'd manipulated something to make those things happen, or like i'd taken advantage of opportunities JAG: instead of it being about basic humanity, about you being the same person you always were, it was about... about whatever SH: he made me cry like a bitch JAG: i'm sorry SH: i even apologized. even though i hadn't done anything. because i didn't want him to hate me. but he did anyways JAG: that's fucked. and i know exactly what that's like SH: yea? JAG: the first time i ever cried in public was when he told me he didn't want to be my friend. it's a thing that sticks with you. and i... turned into a different person, after that SH: i'd never been rejected as an entire person because i was bi, before JAG: i lost all my friends. because i'd made him #1 and everyone else peripheral. and when he was gone, he took all the rest with him SH: if we smoked he refused to hit the same pipe. before he found out. he was on to me. i don't hide my feelings very well, on my face JAG: kids feel things with everything. you loved him. and that's hard to hide SH: when we smoked together i kinda got off on how the blunt or the pipe would be kind of damp from his mouth JAG: i liked that too. my best girl friend would light my cigarette for me like that. like humphrey bogart. and i would feel really good SH: i always remember that JAG: me too SH: he mentioned it. when he was telling me what a horrible person i was. and that's when i started crying JAG: asshole SH: actually i think he felt bad. but not bad enough to take it back JAG: where was this SH: at school. he saw me fooling around with the other kid and ran away and i chased after him for two blocks JAG: shit SH: he came into the locker room and saw, and gave me this look of disgust and hatred, and i followed him. he told me off on the corner. near central park. he was disgusted i was even near him. and that's where i lost it JAG: my shit happened at school too SH: where JAG: in the building. during class. the hall. i wrote him a letter to ask if we could be friends again and gave it to a teacher's assistant who taught in both of our classes to hand it to him the next day. his class was before mine, so the whole day after i felt like i was going to throw up but also full of this crazy hope. and so finally that class rolls around, with the TA i gave my letter to, and she takes me out into the hall with her to give me what he wrote back. she hands me this folded up thing, and it's my own letter SH: wow JAG: and the thing is, dude—it was like being crazy, because i'm smelling him just then. because he had this smell, and only he smelled like this, a really, really good smell. and his smell was on this piece of paper in my hand, on my own letter, and she's saying to me "i'm really sorry. he just said no." and that was it. cried my eyes out right there in the hall in front of whomever SH: people are fucked. like it's a violation JAG: i think the point is that it feels like one, to them. they panic. and they don't know how to manage things gracefully. and when you're that young, you really don't. and that leads to The Look. it leads to The No. SH: yea JAG: whole-person rejection. for stupidity. SH: you wanna know something weird? before that happened with my friend, i could fool myself into thinking he semi-reciprocated. he seemed to like being close to me JAG: that is probably not something you imagined. like with my friend... we had this... unspeakable intimacy? little things SH: yes JAG: nice things SH: yes JAG: like there's this fence. made out of steel poles in the ground and a single chain, like a suspension bridge, behind the bus stop. we'd stand there every day, waiting for the bus. and while we waited he'd try to balance on the chain, like a tightrope walker. and i'd stand near him. like right under him, just casually talking and whatever like i wasn't loving it, loving him touching me, loving his smell. he'd put his hand on me. he'd rest his weight on me. and we'd just stand there doing that. every day SH: little things like that matter JAG: yeah. and there were a thousand of them SH: ...damn this book JAG: i am mildly peeved at it as well. the nerve, making us remember this shit SH: whatever JAG: yeah, whatever SH: not like it has anything to do with who we are now JAG: right, no, totally, nothing SH: real men don't cry JAG: i have never cried a day in my life SH: are you going to use any of this in your review JAG: obviously SH: if you put the sissy bits in it i will kill you JAG: not if i kill you first, motherfucker SH: i said no!!! no means no!!! JAG: fine, i'll change your name. a pseudonymous random author buddy talking books and queerz SH: what will you use JAG: i will be JAG and you will be PAB SH: wtf is that JAG: Punk Assed Bitch SH: you dare JAG: can't stop me. can't stop my flo SH: no, i want Gay Chuck Norris JAG: wut, Flaming Pustule McGee doesn't appeal to you? SH: i should stab you you may read santino hassell gay chuck norris’s review of this book here. PS added january 23, 2018: fuck me in the eye do i hate it when straight actors get kudos for playing queer characters. that's not "brave," you simpering buttmunch, that's your profession. i'm glad your vacation in the land of the Less Privileged was so critically acclaimed, but those of us out here exiled by our families or beat up in high school gymnasiums don't get to wear tuxedoes and tell the macabre fucks on entertainment tonight about our exciting growth as actors. and to be perfectly frank, while i don't know timothy chalamet from a hole in the wall, me and armie hammer go way back—and so i feel led to clarify at this juncture that while i would still happily climb that man like a tree if he managed to keep himself in that doofily sexy, subvocal grunting range of human elocution, i nevertheless simply cannot with him and his comments about having to "pray on it" and ask his wife whether it would be "okay to play a gay man" in a movie. cannot. no puedo. *rude gesture*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Granger

    Aciman's writing is rich and quiscent. Past, present and future intercept in Call Me By Your Name, and I love that this book is etched with memories which are immediate and distant at the same time. Just like Elio and Oliver's relationship which is both carnal and abstract. One of the best final few pages of any novel I've read. Aciman's writing is rich and quiscent. Past, present and future intercept in Call Me By Your Name, and I love that this book is etched with memories which are immediate and distant at the same time. Just like Elio and Oliver's relationship which is both carnal and abstract. One of the best final few pages of any novel I've read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    Well, this fucked me up.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Me: This isn't too bad, a little boring and some questionable things but not that bad Me: *Reads the peach scene* Me: I am... disgusted Review also on my blog • Twitter • Bookstagram Rep: m/m romance, Jewish mc, bi mc Content warnings: sexual content, misuse of peaches  I have a weird experience with Call Me By Your Name. I saw a YouTuber recommend it in 2015 and I wasn't reading at the time but I did look it up and it sat on my Goodreads TBR for a while. Then I found interest in it again, and I h Me: This isn't too bad, a little boring and some questionable things but not that bad Me: *Reads the peach scene* Me: I am... disgusted Review also on my blog • Twitter • Bookstagram Rep: m/m romance, Jewish mc, bi mc Content warnings: sexual content, misuse of peaches  I have a weird experience with Call Me By Your Name. I saw a YouTuber recommend it in 2015 and I wasn't reading at the time but I did look it up and it sat on my Goodreads TBR for a while. Then I found interest in it again, and I heard that it was turned into a movie and was coming out really soon at the time. My interest in the book kind of went back and forth because of the age gap and all that. But I decided to read it, and oh boy do I have opinions.  First, this book has a simple premise. Two men fall in love in Italy. There's a little bit of an age gap. And that's all I took in because this writing spent more time on atmosphere then actually telling a story. I like atmospheric writing but not this kind. For me it took away from the story. It's the kind you can easily skim and won't lose much if you did.  At times, the book was just excessively boring. I found it really hard to engage with the story or the characters. At times, Oliver was a little creepy. Sometimes he didn't make sure he had consent and just assumed Elio was consenting (a correct assumption but an assumption nonetheless). One time when he did ask Elio if he could kiss him, Elio almost scoffed that he had because they had kissed before. That was a strange thing to add, Oliver was trying to respect his boundaries, Elio didn't need to say he didn't like it.  Oliver also, as the goddamn adult in the situation, does point out that their relationship was inappropriate and still goes through with it. That didn't really sit well with me. I think they needed more communication since this is a complicated relationship. I think they're should've been more. Aside from all that, there was the peach scene. Before that, this would've been a two star but this brought the book down for me, to the point I just skimmed until the end. I was horrified. If you don't want to know what the scene is, then stop here and go read another book. Anyway, what happened in the scene was the Elio masturbated into a peach. He took the seed out and everything. He also orgasmed into it, leaving his semen in it. And then Oliver knowing this, eats it. He takes a full on fucking bite into this desecrated peach. I'm no stranger to smut scenes, most of what I read is adult romances so sex doesn't bother me (well, unless it's foot fetishes which was in this too) but I draw the line at shit like this. I actually felt nauseous. Before that scene, this would've been a two star read but it genuinely ruined everything.  Am I going to watch the movie? Probably not. Especially knowing the peach scene is in it (alright I'll stop with the peach scene) but I really didn't like the relationship either. The book is overall overhyped and I never connected with the characters. The writing felt like it kept me at arms length, and I am already forgetting what happened in this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    All I know is pain. This is a contemporary romance between a boy named Elio and his summer guest, Oliver. It's very introspective, dreamy, somehow disconnected from the physical world. I hated it. The writing felt far away, almost--as if Elio's thoughts were from a whole different planet altogether. It's 50% obscure literary references and 50% Elio being melodramatic and angsty. It is An Important Book™. Elio is a shallow character who is only half crafted. Before Oliver, he was nothing. We know All I know is pain. This is a contemporary romance between a boy named Elio and his summer guest, Oliver. It's very introspective, dreamy, somehow disconnected from the physical world. I hated it. The writing felt far away, almost--as if Elio's thoughts were from a whole different planet altogether. It's 50% obscure literary references and 50% Elio being melodramatic and angsty. It is An Important Book™. Elio is a shallow character who is only half crafted. Before Oliver, he was nothing. We know nothing about his life before this summer. He has no hobbies besides transcribing music and sitting next to the pool, ruminating on the secrets of the universe. I'm trying to describe him, but I simply can't, because there's nothing to describe. He's a vessel through which the story is told. He is not a unique individual. Oliver isn't much better. We hardly know anything about him, besides the fact that sometimes he wears red bathing suits. I don't even know what he looks like. He's American. He always says "Later" instead of "good-bye." I believe this is supposed to replace a personality. I did not care about this ship. I did not care about Elio or Oliver. The only person I cared about was Marzia, who was basically used by Elio to cover up his relationship with Oliver, which I thought was disgusting. We do not stan toxicity in this household. The main problem with this book was the lack of humanity. Every character was under-developed. Even the setting wasn't vibrant. I had a hard time distinguishing Elio's thoughts from what was actually happening. It's very contemplative and brooding, but I find that annoying and I didn't enjoy it at all. I managed to force myself through until I got to the part where Elio compared a peach to a rape victim, and then I decided to finish this quickly, rate it 0.5 stars, and move on with my life. Conclusion: Romance is not for me. Another conclusion: Never again. 0.5 stars, I am traumatized

  16. 5 out of 5

    Yun

    I wanted to kill him myself . . . If I didn't kill him, then I'd cripple him for life, so that he'd be with us in a wheelchair . . . If he were in a wheelchair, I would always know where he was, and he'd be easy to find. I would feel superior to him and become his master, now that he was crippled. Ah yes, this is a psychological thriller in which we delve deep into the mind and thoughts of a stalker. Err, you say this is a romance? Ok, you've lost me. Let me just come out and say it: Call Me b I wanted to kill him myself . . . If I didn't kill him, then I'd cripple him for life, so that he'd be with us in a wheelchair . . . If he were in a wheelchair, I would always know where he was, and he'd be easy to find. I would feel superior to him and become his master, now that he was crippled. Ah yes, this is a psychological thriller in which we delve deep into the mind and thoughts of a stalker. Err, you say this is a romance? Ok, you've lost me. Let me just come out and say it: Call Me by Your Name is awful. It reads like the obsessive, icky, slavish ramblings of an unbalanced teenager rather than the beautiful romance I was promised. In order to have an enjoyable romance, I need to be able to relate to the characters. Unfortunately, I did not relate to a single person in here. It's unclear why the boys liked each other, other than pure physical attraction: To think that I had almost fallen for the skin of his hands, his chest, his feet that had never touched a rough surface in their existence--and his eyes, which when their other, kinder gaze fell on you, came like the miracle of the Resurrection. Yes, the book really reads like that, all of it. Elio analyzes every small action, glance, word, and absence from Oliver. And then he obsesses over them. And leaves clues for Oliver, ones that are certain to be creepy and criminal. And it just gets worse from there. If this were a thriller about the inner workings of an unhinged stalker, I would understand. But I just cannot believe that this is supposed to be a romance, and the other person would reciprocate such desperate and inane infatuations. It doesn't help that the writing style is so overwrought and full of itself. It's stuffed with references to obscure old writings and music, none of which I knew. I don't understand how this book could be so highly rated. It was awful purple prose at best and romanticizing criminal behavior at worst. Unless you somehow like the passages I quoted above and can relate to them, it's probably best to avoid this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    demi. ♡

    ❥ 1 / 5 stars - DNF @ PAGE 42 Guys, I don’t get it. I don’t get why this book got such a high average rating like this. I can’t even stand being in Elio’s head. Don’t you think this guy is super creepy? For instance, while they were talking about apricot, instead of him thinking about apricot, what do you think he thought of? APRICOCK! Oliver’s cock! WUTTTTTT? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! But that one didn’t make me stop reading this book. THIS ONE DID. If I didn’t kill him, then I’d cripple him for ❥ 1 / 5 stars - DNF @ PAGE 42 Guys, I don’t get it. I don’t get why this book got such a high average rating like this. I can’t even stand being in Elio’s head. Don’t you think this guy is super creepy? For instance, while they were talking about apricot, instead of him thinking about apricot, what do you think he thought of? APRICOCK! Oliver’s cock! WUTTTTTT? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! But that one didn’t make me stop reading this book. THIS ONE DID. If I didn’t kill him, then I’d cripple him for life, so that he’d be with us in a wheelchair and never go back to the States. If he were in a wheelchair, I would always know where he was, and he’d be easy to find. I would feel superior to him and become his master, now that he was crippled. Then it hit me that I could have killed myself instead, or hurt myself badly enough and let him know why I’d done it. If I hurt my face, I'd want him to look at me and wonder why, why might anyone do this to himself, until, years and years later—yes, Later! —he’d finally piece the puzzle together and beat his head against the wall. IS THIS NORMAL? HELL NO! THIS IS NOWHERE NEAR NORMAL. THIS IS A PSYCHOPATH!! Fuck it. I shouldn’t have read it. I shouldn’t have read this book. I HATE IT. AND I HATE IT WITH PASSION.

  18. 4 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    I turned on spotify , put my head phones on and played the song MYSTERY OF LOVE. HECK I AM READY TO WRITE THE REVIEW OF THIS BOOK. … … … ... Me after 15 mins of staring at the screen with tears in my eyes and song plying in my ears and mind thinking about how beautiful is this book! I freaking fucking loved this book.(understatement of the year!) No words, no phrase, no vocabulary, no language can put my feelings for this book in words. How can you even rate or review a masterpiece. I loved it and I will I turned on spotify , put my head phones on and played the song MYSTERY OF LOVE. HECK I AM READY TO WRITE THE REVIEW OF THIS BOOK. … … … ... Me after 15 mins of staring at the screen with tears in my eyes and song plying in my ears and mind thinking about how beautiful is this book! I freaking fucking loved this book.(understatement of the year!) No words, no phrase, no vocabulary, no language can put my feelings for this book in words. How can you even rate or review a masterpiece. I loved it and I will keep loving it. 💜

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yu

    Love or intimacy is not about saying sentimental words for the sake of saying sentimental words even though you have shared almost nothing and know nothing about one another, nor is it about living in your fantastical dream detached from reality, nor is it about sex or everything that dirtiest mind of the protagonist associates with sex. This book is nothing but over-sentimental, redundant, hubristic, dishonest words that pretend to convey love and intimacy, but indeed convey nothing but resentm Love or intimacy is not about saying sentimental words for the sake of saying sentimental words even though you have shared almost nothing and know nothing about one another, nor is it about living in your fantastical dream detached from reality, nor is it about sex or everything that dirtiest mind of the protagonist associates with sex. This book is nothing but over-sentimental, redundant, hubristic, dishonest words that pretend to convey love and intimacy, but indeed convey nothing but resentment, shallowness, egoism, and the disability to love anyone, not even oneself. I won't pretend to know what true love is, but at least I know that the first step of love is to acknowledge that the person you love is neither yourself nor your illusive creation but someone real and concrete. If Elio truly thinks this is the love of his life, and he holds onto it for goddamn twenty years (as if adding a time period arbitrarily could convince everyone of how special his love story is), all I can say to him is: Get a life! PS: This book totally ruined my appetite for fruits.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Gorgeous prose elicits vivid emotions ..... This is a beautiful coming of age novel.... absolutely stunning! So passionate - so all consuming! Elio is 17 years old. Every summer his father selects and hosts a doctoral student to stay with them for the summer. Oliver is the summer student - writing his dissertation.... he has come to Rome... wears his Star of David necklace right out in the open. Elio and his family are also Jewish - but most Jews didn’t flaunt their Star of David for anyone to see Gorgeous prose elicits vivid emotions ..... This is a beautiful coming of age novel.... absolutely stunning! So passionate - so all consuming! Elio is 17 years old. Every summer his father selects and hosts a doctoral student to stay with them for the summer. Oliver is the summer student - writing his dissertation.... he has come to Rome... wears his Star of David necklace right out in the open. Elio and his family are also Jewish - but most Jews didn’t flaunt their Star of David for anyone to see .... Elio begins to jog with Oliver ...and swim .....( oh and the descriptions are breathtaking)...and soon Elio is aching to touch Oliver’s skin - every inch of him. Elio’s inner thoughts are brilliant- raw - real ..... “But I loved the fear— if fear it really was— and this they didn’t know, my ancestors. It was the underside of fear I loved, like the smoothest wool found on the underbelly of the coarsest sheep. I loved the boldness that was pushing me forward; it aroused me, because it was born of arousal itself. “You’ll kill me if you stop”—or was it: “I’ll die if you stop”. Each time I hear these words, I couldn’t resist.” “I knock on the glass panel, softly. My heart is beating like crazy. I am afraid of nothing, so why be so frightened? Why? Because everything scares me, because both fear and desire are busy equivocating with each other, with me, I can’t even tell the difference between wanting him to open the door and hoping he stood me up”. I loved it!!!!!!!!! I understand there is a movie ..... I’d like to see it. Yet I haven’t heard anything in my area ( yet?)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Santino Hassell

    This is a beautifully written story of passion, obsession, and possibly love. It's told primarily in the voice of a highly intelligent 17 year old boy living in the Italian Riviera with his family. They are wealthy, have a beautiful villa, and allow tourists to visit, and writers to stay there for the summer. The book is about the obsession the narrator, Elio, has for a young professor named Oliver (one of the writers staying for the summer). The atmosphere is perfectly described. I could picture This is a beautifully written story of passion, obsession, and possibly love. It's told primarily in the voice of a highly intelligent 17 year old boy living in the Italian Riviera with his family. They are wealthy, have a beautiful villa, and allow tourists to visit, and writers to stay there for the summer. The book is about the obsession the narrator, Elio, has for a young professor named Oliver (one of the writers staying for the summer). The atmosphere is perfectly described. I could picture it vividly, possible because I visited the region in the summer of 2013, but primarily because of the writing. Out of the three themes I listed above, I think the primary one is obsession which is why I'm not sure if I consider this a love story. That isn't a flaw in my eyes, but I was often disturbed by the narrator during the first third of the book. It isn't the book's fault. A lot of it has to do with my own personal opinions and my current attitude towards people who have the mindset of Elio as he obsessed over Oliver. At first, his interest seems one-sided, but he becomes so focused on it that it consumes him and makes him toxic at times. He tracks Oliver's movements, his conversations with others, choreographs conversations and interactions, and eventually becomes so obsessed that he considers plotting to turn Oliver against a girl he may have interest in out of jealousy and a need to control him. He seemed to see Oliver as primarily a possession even though Elio has made no move to actually make his own interest and desire apparent. There were two things that snapped me out of my cringing judgment: 1) I had to check myself and remember that Elio is only 17. Extreme emotional responses are more acceptable for a teenager. 2) Elio was aware of how insidious he was being and checked himself. Other than that brief foray, Elio's feelings were well drawn. I could see their interactions, I could feel what he was feeling, and I understood perfectly his moments of doubt and anguish when he felt rejected. It took me back to moments in my life when I was a teenager and in love with a boy, and how every minor moment was monumental in my mind. And how it feels to be hopeful about something when the outcome is ambiguous, or I could fool myself into thinking it was. Primarily for this reason, I give the book four stars. Elio felt real and sometimes that hurt me, but ultimately it helped his story feel real as well. Although 80% of the book is literally "told" by Elio more so than scenes are written out in their entirety, I enjoyed the style. However, the book slowed down a lot for me at the end. I guess you can say, the major conflict had been resolved and my engagement dwindled because I assumed things would tie up neatly in a bow and all would be well. I was wrong, but I still found the pacing and final chapters to be at odds with the beginning of the book. All in all, this is a wonderful coming of age story about a teenage boy who is exploring his sexuality and his first real taste of passion and love. It often felt like I was there beside Elio and Oliver, simultaneously rooting them on while at times wondering if the situation was healthy for either party. Despite my own personal opinions, I can admit that this perfectly captured moments that most people experience in their youth--intense, careless incidents where everything feels important and devastating even if it fades with the end of the season, or the summer, or the semester, but you remember those moments for the rest of your life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    “ We are not written for one instrument alone. ” Do you remember longing for something, someone (“Intoxicated rapture” and “The twisted skein of desire”), while worrying about the implications? Fear of rejection - and of acceptance? I do. This is an achingly slow, beautiful, microscopic analysis of the glittering facets of identity. They’re painfully and joyously revealed during the fluctuating and confusing experiences of late adolescence. Hunger and fear. “I loved the fear.” Desire and shame “ We are not written for one instrument alone. ” Do you remember longing for something, someone (“Intoxicated rapture” and “The twisted skein of desire”), while worrying about the implications? Fear of rejection - and of acceptance? I do. This is an achingly slow, beautiful, microscopic analysis of the glittering facets of identity. They’re painfully and joyously revealed during the fluctuating and confusing experiences of late adolescence. Hunger and fear. “I loved the fear.” Desire and shame. Shame that becomes a route to total intimacy. The emotions are universal, if not the specific permutations and situations. If that were not possible, genres like fantasy and murder mysteries could not succeed. Know Yourself Perhaps the most important task of adolescence is to understand oneself. Only then can one truly begin to understand others. Oliver, at 24, seems very sure of himself - and everyone else. The impetus of the story is 17-year old Elio’s struggle to achieve the same, occasionally aided by the tactful, understated empathy of his father. “If there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out.” (His mother is almost irrelevant.) Hiders “People who read are hiders. They hide who they are. People who hide don’t always like who they are.” I hide in books. I expect many GoodReaders do. But it’s not because I dislike myself (though there’s room for self-improvement). It’s an escape from ordinary me, in ordinary life. Books are safe spaces where I can confront the truth. By hiding in books, I can learn about the world, and about myself. Photo: fortune cookie “To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone.” Unity “Having someone’s body to touch and being that someone we’re longing to touch are one and the same, just opposite banks on a river that passes from us to them… This perpetual circuit where the chambers of the heart, like the trapdoors of desire, and the wormholes of time, and the false-bottomed drawer we call identity share a beguiling logic according to which the shortest distance between real life and the life unlived, between who we are and what we want, is a twisted staircase designed with the impish cruelty of MC Escher.” The deepest intimacy of all is when two become one, where each can call the other by caller’s name. “Is it your body that I want… or do I want to slip into it and own it as if it were my own?” Where that one becomes many: brother, friend, father, son, husband, lover, self. Thence comes self-knowledge. “He was my secret conduit to myself.” Exquisite, intimate, poignant. Peaches and feet feature notably, separately, sexually. Duality We seek unity, and we have one life and one body, but most of us live as if we have two: “one is the mockup and the other is the finished version”. The job of poetry and wine is “to help us see double”. Is that a good thing? Fluidity "Bakers and butchers don't compete." Because Elio and Oliver sail on open waters of identity and sexuality, there’s no need for labels, no need to be bisexual or male to relate to them. Their unstated (at the time) bond of shared secular Judaism was more elusive to me. Sexuality is a spectrum; some move along it, while others stick at one point on it. Personality, behaviour, or circumstances? This article explains, “same-sex relations were viewed in pre-modern times as merely a predilection or practice, whereas during the 19th century they came to be considered an innate nature, an identity” and "rather than a hetero/homosexual dichotomy, the two sexualities are defined by penetrating and being penetrated." Gender can be fluid, too. A peripheral character had formative experiences in Thailand, and was picked up by a ladyboy. Gay Romance Don’t let the book blurb or film trailer let you think this is a gay romance (not that there’s anything wrong with them, but this is not one). My first impressions were about the importance of first impressions in setting our path, our fate. I experienced the “promises of instant affinities” from the first page, and that held firm beyond the last page. It’s a bildungsroman told by a middle-aged man looking back to a summer in the mid 1980s, when he was 17: a boy who liked girls and was struck by a passion for a slightly older man who also liked girls. Oliver was staying with Elio's family in Italy for six weeks: that year's promising grad student. The setting is a lush and elemental component of the story. It could not have happened the same way in the US or UK. Elio dips in and out of his memories, showing how his typical teen uncertainty, coupled with his atypical academic and self-analytical approach, affect them both, throughout their lives. Just as he imagined: "Two young men who found much happiness for a few weeks and lived the remainder of their lives dipping cotton swabs into that bowl of happiness, fearing they’d use it up, without daring to drink more than a thimbleful on ritual anniversaries." It’s not clear who he’s telling the story to or why. He refers to the diary he kept at the time, but he observes “I’d written it down in my diary but omitted to say I had dreamt it. I wanted to come back years later and believe, if only for a moment.” He remembers “‘repeat’ moments”, but not necessarily the sequence. By the end, I wondered how relevant it was that Elio and Oliver were both male, rather as I did with Brokeback Mountain (see my review HERE) and the dwarfism of the lead character in the film The Station Agent. Here, the taboo, inasmuch as there is one, is Elio’s youth, the age gap, and Oliver’s position as guest. Consent “Does this make you happy?” and “You sure you want this?” and “Can I kiss you?” Consent is of recurring importance here. Ten years after it was published, it is topical in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo. But as in real life, sometimes the messages are mixed: “Please, don’t hurt me, which meant, Hurt me all you want.” Later “I’d lodged him in the permanent past, my pluperfect lover.” We learn something of Oliver’s life decades hence, but almost nothing of Elio’s. That balances the fact that for most of the book we know every nuance of Elio’s thoughts, but can only infer Oliver’s. Quotes • “The promise of so much bliss hovering a fingertip away.” • “The soft wind training exhalations from our garden up the stairs to my bedroom.” • “Awakened by the rich brown cloistral scent of coffee.” • “There are certain wishes that must be clipped like wings off a thriving butterfly.” • “What startles virgins on being touched for the first time by the person they desire: he stirs nerves in them they never knew existed and that produce far, far more disturbing pleasures than they are used to on their own.” • “Wanting to test desire is nothing more than a ruse to get what we want without admitting that we want it.” • “The kind of lovemaking that can run circles round time.” • “Scrambling for something to say, the way a fish struggles for water in a muddied pond that’s fast drying up in the heat.” • “Unreal and sticky goblin lanes that seemed to lead to a different, nether realm you entered in a state of stupor and wonderment.” • “I intentionally failed to drop breadcrumbs for my return journey; instead, I ate them.” • “By not planning to keep things alive, we were avoiding the prospect that they might ever die.” • “We were eloping together with return-trip tickets to different destinations.” • “That summer, our lives had scarcely touched, but we had crossed to the other bank… We had found the stars… And this is given only once.” UPDATE re Film I've just seen the film, and unlike many GR fans of the book, I was very disappointed. • It looks gorgeous: Italian sun and scenery, and some subtly clever cinematography, particularly with the relative positioning of characters in the scene. • It sounds good, too, which matters, given the importance of music in the story, especially Elio. • Whereas the recent adaptation of On Chesil Beach added a significant postscript to the story that changed the meaning of the main story (see my review here), this omitted the rather pointless postscript of the book. But: • I didn't feel the warmth, let alone the passion. I didn't believe the characters, let alone their relationship. • It felt somehow prurient in a way the book did not, but that may just be me. • The father was creepy, rather than empathetic. • A seminal trip was to beautiful countryside, rather than Rome. Why? Film details on imdb here.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tamishly

    "I thought I understood why everyone swears by Sant'Eustachio's coffee; or perhaps I wanted to think I understood, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't even sure I liked it. Perhaps no one else did but felt obliged to fall in with the general opinion and claimed that they too couldn't live without it." Never have a line been written so accurate about not loving a popular product. In my case, this book. For the entire first 70 percent of the book. But if that's the way it's been written so that I could appr "I thought I understood why everyone swears by Sant'Eustachio's coffee; or perhaps I wanted to think I understood, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't even sure I liked it. Perhaps no one else did but felt obliged to fall in with the general opinion and claimed that they too couldn't live without it." Never have a line been written so accurate about not loving a popular product. In my case, this book. For the entire first 70 percent of the book. But if that's the way it's been written so that I could appreciate the last 30 percent, I agree, so be it. ***3 things are clear: *The writing is good and the characters are convincing. *I didn't like this book as much as everyone else. It's fine. I waited all these years to pick it up again, waiting for the right time. I tried reading this book like 6 times before I actually ended up reading it on 11th January, 2021. *I am going to like the movie adaptation more. I wish this book was 30 percent young adult and 70 percent their later years. I love the last 30 percent of the book so much. *******🖤*******🖤*******🖤*******🖤******🖤**** I was about to rate this one a 3 star but the last few pages were so good that I felt it's much more than a 3 star read. I wish the first 60 percent was as good as the later 40 percent. Yes, the love for this book comes slowly and steadily. Take your time. Be in a quiet environment when you're reading this one. *********🖤*********🖤**********🖤**********🖤**** I liked the parents and the other side characters. The few pages towards the end of the book where the father said some important things will always stay as one of my favourite chapters. I wish the humour was better in some parts of the writing. I specifically didn't find this one funny at all. "When I looked around, I saw that I had vomited right next to the statue of the Pasqhino.... I swear, there were peas there that hadn't been bitten into and could have fed the children of India." Really? Wish this book was better for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    im flustered. im at a loss. im reeling from a multitude of thoughts and feelings. oh, where do i even start with a book like this? the story? the characters? the prose? there was a little too much introspection for my liking. i prefer my books to have some sort of consistent plot/action to follow, but the writing, the way in which elio expressed himself, totally made up for it. the writing made my soul sing. yes, it was little bit pretentious, a little too intellectual. but goodness me. i would im flustered. im at a loss. im reeling from a multitude of thoughts and feelings. oh, where do i even start with a book like this? the story? the characters? the prose? there was a little too much introspection for my liking. i prefer my books to have some sort of consistent plot/action to follow, but the writing, the way in which elio expressed himself, totally made up for it. the writing made my soul sing. yes, it was little bit pretentious, a little too intellectual. but goodness me. i would be lying if i didnt say the prose was absolutely stunning. honestly, just read this: ‘and on that evening when we grow older still we will 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 will want to call it envy, because to call it regret would break our hearts.’ so gorgeous. for me, the writing took young obsession and infatuation and elevated those feelings to poetic desire and endearment. i really enjoyed reading about elios growth and how his experiences with oliver shaped him. the ending wasnt what i was hoping for, but i felt very satisfied and at peace with the conclusion. which just shows how wonderfully this story was told. overall, this didnt blow me away/astound me as much as all the hype made me believe it would, but i did walk away feeling very touched and comforted. which is exactly what you want from a book like this. <3 ↠ 4 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    5+Stars. One of my top reads this year,without any doubt. I read this weeks ago and still can't find the words to express how much I loved it. All I can say is, -it's beautiful, -it made me happy, -it made me sad, -it just made me Feel,so many emotions. -the writing is just stunning. Read Nick's review,because he's said it perfectly. Favourite quotes, Let summer never end, let him never go away, let the music on perpetual replay play forever, I’m asking for very little, and I swear I’ll ask for not 5+Stars. One of my top reads this year,without any doubt. I read this weeks ago and still can't find the words to express how much I loved it. All I can say is, -it's beautiful, -it made me happy, -it made me sad, -it just made me Feel,so many emotions. -the writing is just stunning. Read Nick's review,because he's said it perfectly. Favourite quotes, Let summer never end, let him never go away, let the music on perpetual replay play forever, I’m asking for very little, and I swear I’ll ask for nothing more. There is a law somewhere that says that when one person is thoroughly smitten with the other, the other must unavoidably be smitten as well. Amor ch’a null’amato amar perdona. Love, which exempts no one who’s loved from loving To look up and find you there, Oliver. For the day will come soon enough when I’ll look up and you’ll no longer be there. “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine,” which I’d never done in my life before and which, as soon as I said my own name as though it were his, took me to a realm I never shared with anyone in my life before, or since. Cannot recommended highly enough.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I found this novel painfully slow going at times. There was too much introspection, too little dialogue. The young grad student and the 17-year-old narrator annoyed me with their wishy-washy feelings and emotions. I craved more intensity and passion. Despite its flaws, I was gradually swept away by the lovely writing, the setting, and growing intimacy between the two main characters. Knowing early on these two young men were not destined to remain together did not prevent me from being deeply mo I found this novel painfully slow going at times. There was too much introspection, too little dialogue. The young grad student and the 17-year-old narrator annoyed me with their wishy-washy feelings and emotions. I craved more intensity and passion. Despite its flaws, I was gradually swept away by the lovely writing, the setting, and growing intimacy between the two main characters. Knowing early on these two young men were not destined to remain together did not prevent me from being deeply moved by the story’s poignant conclusion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Evgnossia O'Hara

    Μπορείτε να δείτε την βιβλιοσυζήτηση που έκανα για το αριστούργημα αυτό, στο κανάλι μου, στο YouTube, πατώντας εδώ! I've finished this book almost a week ago but I'm not able to stop thinking about it. A generator of emotions. Thought provoking. Beautiful writing style. And at the same time, raw and real. The ending left me with my heart shattered into million pieces. I swear guys, I'm still collecting those pieces. I mean it is not only about a love story. It is about the choices we make in our Μπορείτε να δείτε την βιβλιοσυζήτηση που έκανα για το αριστούργημα αυτό, στο κανάλι μου, στο YouTube, πατώντας εδώ! I've finished this book almost a week ago but I'm not able to stop thinking about it. A generator of emotions. Thought provoking. Beautiful writing style. And at the same time, raw and real. The ending left me with my heart shattered into million pieces. I swear guys, I'm still collecting those pieces. I mean it is not only about a love story. It is about the choices we make in our lives and the result of those choices. The results that affect a lot of people at once. The most stunning message the story left me with is that people fall in love with the souls. Not with the beauty of the faces and the bodies but with the beauty of a soul. So real. So beautiful. So raw. Πάω να μαζέψω τα σπασμένα κομμάτια της καρδιάς μου... Καταπληκτικό βιβλίο!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    “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.” This is a book of all-consuming obsession, sensual to the point that is feels uncomfortable to read at parts, to the point that you feel voyeristic for just sharing those very intimate emotions with Elio and really want to look away, to allow for a se “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.” This is a book of all-consuming obsession, sensual to the point that is feels uncomfortable to read at parts, to the point that you feel voyeristic for just sharing those very intimate emotions with Elio and really want to look away, to allow for a semblance of privacy. “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.” Everything is intense, sensual, overpowering, intoxicating — the thoughts, the smells, the imagery. The oppressive summer heat, the minutiae of the languorous sun-bathed days, the overpowering longing for someone - that someone who is forever etched into the very fibers of your heart. The excruciating intensity with which Elio turns even the smallest things, the tiniest details, over and over in his feverish mind. Perfect clarity and anguished confusion coexisting often in the same sentence, same thought. The desire - no, the sheer need - to be with someone so much that you can meld into the same person, inhabit each other’s body and mind, forget in this confusion where you end and the other begins. “Did I want to be like him? Did I want to be him? Or did I just want to have him? Or are “being” and “having” thoroughly inaccurate verbs in the twisted skein of desire, where having someone’s body to touch and being that someone we’re longing to touch are one and the same, just opposite banks on a river that passes from us to them, back to us and over to them again in this perpetual circuit where the chambers of the heart, like the trapdoors of desire, and the wormholes of time[…]” I remember being young like Elio, young and wearing my heart on my sleeve. From the distance of time I recall how intense everything seemed - and was. How strong and overpowering and at times surreal emotions felt. How all-consuming and pleasantly suffocating love and obsession seemed. How raw the feelings were. How dramatic things seemed. How pain and joy seemed to coexist and both could feel like they could kill you in an instant. “Cor cordium, heart of hearts, I’ve never said anything truer in my life to anyone.” Maybe you need to have experienced that kind of overwhelming obsession, overpowering infatuation with another person to really *feel* this story, to recognize - at times almost shamefully - that all-encompassing obsession, the need taking over your whole being. I doubt that it will appeal to many young people, those closer to Elio’s age than his father’s age. I think the pull of nostalgia for the intense feelings of early youth is part of the strength of this story — and you need some temporal distance for the nostalgia to feel real. There a reason why a man two decades older than his seventeen-year-old remembered self is telling us the story of that lazy Italian summer and the deep impact it had on his entire life. “Time makes us sentimental. Perhaps, in the end, it is because of time that we suffer.” Aciman does not shy away from uncomfortable. There are a few scenes so personal that they made me cringe, and yet within the framework of this book — where soul and desires and the darkest and deepest urges are longings are all laid bare — they fit. Listen to it, superbly narrated by Armie Hammer whose voice adds to the magnetic pull of the words, who portrays a perfect Elio - and then, just as these young men longed for, becomes Oliver in the film. (Also, say what you want about that film - but that scene of Oliver goofily and unselfconsciously dancing while Elio darkly watches him gets nothing but pure love from me). 4.5 stars. “We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    He was waiting for me to say something. He was staring at me. This, I think, was the first time I dared myself to stare back at him. Usually, I'd cast a glance and then look away - look away because I didn't want to swim in the lovely, clear pool of his eyes unless I'd been invited to - and I never waited long enough to know whether I was even wanted there; look away because I was too scared to stare anyone back; look away because I didn't want to give anything away; look away because I couldn't He was waiting for me to say something. He was staring at me. This, I think, was the first time I dared myself to stare back at him. Usually, I'd cast a glance and then look away - look away because I didn't want to swim in the lovely, clear pool of his eyes unless I'd been invited to - and I never waited long enough to know whether I was even wanted there; look away because I was too scared to stare anyone back; look away because I didn't want to give anything away; look away because I couldn't acknowledge how much he mattered. Look away because that steely gaze of his always reminded me of how tall he stood and how far below him I ranked. Now, in the silence of the moment, I stared back, not to defy him, or to show I wasn't shy any longer, but to surrender, to tell him this is who I am, this is who you are, this is what I want, there is nothing but truth between us now, and where there's truth there are no barriers, no shifty glances, and if nothing comes of this, let it never be said that either of us was unaware of what might happen. I hadn't a hope left. And maybe I stared back because there wasn't a thing to lose now. I stared back with the all-knowing, I-dare-you-to-kiss-me gaze of someone who both challenges and flees with one and the same gesture. I picked up this book because it was made into a film. No other reason. I really didn't know what to expect. I was shocked to find, from the very first page, beautiful writing that was riveting. Aciman claims to have dashed this off in four months, if that's true then the man is truly blessed. It's exquisite. It's a work of art. It's such beautiful writing that it almost doesn't matter what he's writing about. I'm sure a lot of people said the same thing about The Goldfinch. But, as we know, I have to review the book. We all remember my review of Fates and Furies, and I think most of us can agree that beautiful writing can't save EVERYTHING. Let's begin. So, the basic premise of this book is that a seventeen-year-old's family hosts an intellectual for six weeks every summer because his father is a famous professor. This summer they host Oliver, a twenty-four-year-old professor (assistant prof?) at Columbia. Elio (17) quickly develops a painful and all-consuming crush on Oliver (24). He's never had sex with a man, but has been interested in having sex with a man since he was 14. He picks Oliver to be his first - at least, he hopes and prays and wishes and dreams that Oliver will be his first. Let's break this down. 1.) The book is not a romance novel. Just like The Bridges of Madison County is not a romance novel. Yes, love and sex are involved, but the book is not a romance novel. Just want to make that clear for you up front. 2.) IDEAL LIFE. It's the mid '80s and Elio lives in heaven. He lives in Italy. It is the very description of bliss. He spends his days reading, playing instruments, swimming lazily, sunbathing, dating, fucking, eating, and napping. So whenever he complains about stuff, I was like, "Shut the fuck up." This is a VERY charmed life, unbelievably sheltered and perfect and without even a cloud. He has zero responsibilities and zero worries. I don't count his crush on Oliver as a 'worry.' He delights in obsessing over Oliver. 3.) AGE DIFFERENCE. Some people might be bothered by the age difference here: Elio is 17 and Oliver is 24. It didn't bother me one bit. It would bother you if the 17-year-old was female. Sigh. The problem with books that feature a 17-year-old female and a significantly older male getting together is that they always make the girl a blushing virgin who has never seen a cock before, much less fucked anyone. She's always super-naive and sheltered. Because of this, books like these seem really skeezy. There's a huge power divide. The man comes off as a sleazoid who is seducing a 'jailbait' virgin. It's gross. Rarely do I see a book where a 17-year-old girl who actually knows what she's doing, has sexual agency, isn't a virgin, is competent and on equal footing, willingly and with eyes open enters into a relationship with an older man. That kind of book isn't appealing to readers, I guess, who want an older man with tons of experience 'deflowering' a quaking virgin, ripping hymen, OMG it's-not-going-to-fit, what-is-that-thing?, daddy-complex type of thing. Which I find DISGUSTING. I mean, your mileage may vary, perhaps that is your schtick, but to me it is not appealing at all. And when the female ISN'T a virgin and we have this situation, she's always presented as a hardened 'loose woman' and it isn't any fun either. You could THEORETICALLY make a book where a 17-year-old female and a 24-year-old male get together that I would be fine with. I mean, I'll believe it when I see it, but THEORETICALLY you could write it in a non-skeevy way. Any authors with actual skillz feel free to rise to this challenge. I want two people to meet as relative equals. I mean, someone is always going to be more experienced, but I like love stories that are between TWO HUMAN BEINGS, not some kind of late-night fantasy played out for the sole purpose of masturbation. That's erotica, leave erotica where it is supposed to be. I want relative equals who respect and care for each other, not some kind of power-fantasy. Anyway, where was I? Age difference. Oh, yeah. So, Elio has been with quite a few girls, and he started fucking when he was 15. I don't feel like Oliver is taking advantage of him at all in this book. I don't feel like the love or affair or whatever between these two was skeevy at all (in terms of feelings. Some of the sexual acts in here are... interesting, more on that later). Elio really wants to experience going to bed with a man. He's been dreaming about this since he was 14, and he carefully chooses Oliver to be his first. I didn't feel at all like Oliver was a skeeze in any way. 4.) BISEXUALS. This is not a gay novel. I think that bears repeating. This is not a novel about two gay men. It is a novel about two bisexual men. I know bisexuals are always complaining about bisexual erasure and honestly usually I don't know what they are talking about, because I am straight and not really on point with modern bisexual topics, but here it is very clear. Even I can see it. This is being lauded and embraced as a gay film and a gay book and a celebration of gay love etc. etc. etc. but please let us remember that these two men are bisexual. This isn't a bearding situation, either. They both seek out women, enjoy sex with women, frequently fuck women, and love having sex with women. Elio particularly enjoys going down on women. So. Bisexual. Not gay. And not just because this is Italy in the 1980s, I want to make that clear. They both enjoy fucking women AND men. And it's not a "a gay man comes along and turns a straight man gay with his awesome penis" either. I want to make that clear, as well. Elio has been attracted to men since he was fourteen. Even though he's fucked a bunch of women, he wants to experience fucking with a man. Oliver is a good candidate for his first time. This isn't Oliver, a gay man coming along and seducing a straight younger man with alluring gay sex. Both men are bisexual. Elio already had had interest in having sex with men for YEARS before Oliver happened along. This isn't a gay-for-you type of deal. 5.) CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Okay. A strong undertone of this book is the idea of fucking yourself. Masturbation? No, no, no. The idea of having sex with yourself. Aciman paints the idea A LOT in this book - that Oliver and Elio are SO ALIKE - both very educated intellectuals, both Jewish, both men, both athletic, both bisexual, both circumcised... that they are really fucking themselves when they are fucking each other. It's very narcissist when you come down to it. I mean, I've heard this idea of calling someone by your own name in bed as 'romantic,' and it is true that this aspect of the story is painted as a very tender, loving, erotic thing between Oliver and Elio. But in reality it is about the surreal quality of fucking another you. Of course you 'love' the other you, it is you. Let's have some examples. My Star of David, his Star of David, our two necks like one, two cut Jewish men joined together from time immemorial. - 34% No one had ever worn my clothes. Perhaps the physical and the metaphorical meanings are clumsy ways of understanding what happens when two beings need, not just to be close together, but to become so totally ductile that each becomes the other. To be who I am because of you. To be who he was because of me. To be in his mouth while he was in mine and no longer know whose it was, his cock or mine, that was in my mouth. He was my secret conduit to myself - like a catalyst that allows us to become who we are, the foreign body, the pacer, the graft, the patch that sends all the right impulses, the steel pin that keeps a soldier's bone together, the other man's heart that makes us more us than we were before the transplant. These are just two examples, but it's discussed 10 or 15 times in the book. Elio and Oliver frequently wear each other's clothes and underwear as a blatant reminder from the author of this 'clone fucking' idea. And there were times when they were engaging in this call-me-by-your-name practice and I was just rolling my eyes so hard. I came up to his ear just as he was about to enter the post office, and whispered, "Fuck me, Elio." He remembered and instantly moaned his own name three times, as we'd done during that night. Ugh. 6.) BIZARRE SEXUAL PRACTICES. The book can be jarring with it's bizarre sexual ideas. The writing is so beautiful and you are lulled by it, only to be snapped out of it by some sex act that leaves you reeling. Some examples: - (view spoiler)[Elio goes into Oliver's room, smells and kisses his swimsuit all over, puts the swimsuit on, masturbates so that he cums on the suit, leaves it there for Oliver to find. This is BEFORE they are doing anything sexual together. (hide spoiler)] - (view spoiler)[ Elio quite literally fucks a peach. He splits it open with his cock and rubs it all over his cock, thinks about how much a peach looks like both a vagina and an anus (two things that really turn him on) and he ejaculates into the peach (which he then elaborately compares to a rape victim in a quite disturbing passage) and leaves it on his desk. Later, Oliver comes into his room, notices the peach, asks about it, and then deliberately eats it in front of a blushing, crying Elio who is ecstatic. (hide spoiler)] - (view spoiler)[ They go into the bathroom together, Oliver poops in the toilet and Elio won't allow him to flush, he wants to see Oliver's poop. Then Elio poops while Oliver 'massages' his belly and Oliver looks at Elio's poop. This is portrayed as 'closeness' and 'breaking down any barriers between them.' (hide spoiler)] - (view spoiler)[ Elio fantasizes about going from fucking Marzia to fucking Oliver with no shower, body-to-body. After finger-fucking Marzia, he wants to come home, ask Oliver to sniff his hand, and then have Oliver lick his fingers. This doesn't happen, it's just his sexual fantasy. (hide spoiler)] Probably other weird stuff I'm forgetting. 7.) JEWISH IDENTITY. The author did a wonderful job of talking about Jewishness and the Jewish identity of both Oliver and Elio. I really liked it. I felt like he wrote about it in a very clear and beautiful way that enhanced the story. I was a bit baffled and amused at Elio's continued insistence that Oliver would be extra-kind to him in bed because they were both Jewish, but everything was very nicely done. 8.) JUST DO IT ALREADY. You might get very frustrated reading this book, I know I did. It is a VERY REALISTIC portrayal of a 17-year-old crush. If you remember being seventeen, you'll know what I'm talking about. At least 50 or 60 percent of the book is simply Elio going Does he like me? Does he like me like me? *gasp* His hand accidentally touched mine!!!! Is he looking at me? I want him to be looking at me. He's talking to me!!!! Does he like me? What is he thinking? Oh, I want to go to bed with him so badly! He didn't eat breakfast with me today? Does he not like me anymore? Is he staring at me? It goes ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. Now, it's written 100x more beautifully than I could ever write it, but it is pure teenage angst crush. It gets very frustrating and annoying. I eventually got to the point in the book where I was like, "Just tell him you are attracted to him already! TELL HIM! JFC!" It's very annoying. I wouldn't call it a slow burn, because we are only seeing things from Elio's perspective - who knows what the fuck Oliver is thinking - but it gets tiring quickly. He's obsessed in the way a teen crush can only be. This may cause readers a lot of frustration and annoyance. If you don't like constant teenage whining and obsessing, this book is not for you. 9.) VERY REALISTIC 17 AND EMOTIONS. But, I have to give Aciman here major realism points. He NAILS 17-year-olds. Spot on. It's hyper-realistic to be in Elio's mind. Even later in the book when both Elio and Oliver are adults, Aciman NAILS human emotions and thinking. He very realistically puts us into Elio's head and really captures the universal human experience. Sexuality, ethnicity, and nationality aside - I feel Aciman really captures the feelings of humans in this book. It's exquisite and very relatable. 10.) SEXUAL ETHICS. Elio is, I'm sad to report, a little fuckboy with the sexual ethics of a snake. He was really pissing me off with a lot of his behavior in this book. And I think a seventeen-year-old should know better, especially one who has been sexually active for two years already. He's not sexually ethical, and it really bothered me. And NO ONE curbs him on it, not even his own father, who I believe should have stepped up and curbed him, especially in one particular scene that I was reading and cringing at. It's your job as a parent to teach sexual morals to your children. If dad wasn't up to the task, I thought Oliver would be, but nobody says a fucking thing and Elio never learns any lessons. Maybe Oliver is a fuckboy as well? Unclear, since we don't really get into his private life that much. Tl;dr - One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Not for the content, which is... interesting, but for the sheer beauty of Aciman's writing that blew me away. As for the story, there are some very touching moments, and Aciman is great at portraying human feelings and emotions. He is a very talented writer, only very talented writers can capture the truth about humans like this. However. It was jarring every time some (IMO) bizarre sexual scene came up. Also, Elio's horrible lack of sexual ethics really bothered me. I know it might not bother everyone, but I like people to act ethically in regards to sex and relationships. I didn't really know what I was getting into in picking this up, but I was surprised to find it was about two bisexual men instead of two gay men like I had initially thought. It does a great job of taking you to Italy. And I feel like Aciman discusses Jewish identity in a wonderful way that is both illuminating and beautiful. Upon finishing the book, I'm not really sure I even like Elio and Oliver as people, but the book was very enjoyable, gripping, of course beautifully written, and fascinating yet relatable. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest. My biggest caveats are: non-stop teen whining/angst/obsession/crush AND some bizarre sexual scenes that I think will delight certain people who revel in that, but I know will disgust other people I'm friends with on GR. Read at your own risk. I loved the salt of his arms, of his shoulders, along the ridges of his spine. They were still new to me. "If we lie down now, there'll be no book party," he said. These words, spoken from a height of bliss it seemed no one could steal from us, would take me back to this hotel room and to this damp ferragosto evening as both of us leaned stark-naked with our arms on the windowsill, overlooking an unbearably hot Roman late-late afternoon, both of us still smelling of the stuffy compartment on the southbound train that was probably nearing Naples by now and on which we'd slept, my head resting on his in full view of the other passengers. Leaning out into the evening air, I knew that this night might never be given to us again, and yet I couldn't bring myself to believe it. He too must have had the same thought as we surveyed the magnificent cityscape, smoking and eating fresh figs, shoulder to shoulder, each wanting to do something to mark the moment, which is why, yielding to an impulse that couldn't have felt more natural at the time, I let my left hand rub his buttocks and then began to stick my middle finger into him as he replied, "You keep doing this, and there's definitely no party." I told him to do me a favor and keep staring out the window but to lean forward a bit, until I had a brainstorm once my entire finger was inside him: we might start but under no condition would we finish. Then we'd shower and go out and feel like two exposed, live wires giving off sparks each time they so much as flicked each other. Look at old houses and want to hug each one, spot a lamppost and, like a dog, want to spray it, pass an art gallery and look for the hole in the nude, cross a face that did no more than smile our way and already initiate moves to undress the whole person and ask her, or him, or both, if they were more than one, to join us first for drinks, for dinner, anything. Find Cupid everywhere in Rome because we'd clipped one of his wings and he was forced to fly in circles. P.S. Cultural Appropriation. The question has been raised if Aciman, who is a heterosexual, is culturally appropriating by writing this book. It's not my place to discuss this, as I am a straight woman. But the question has come up. The movie also notably stars straight actors. I haven't seen the film.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Seemita

    I finished reading the book late last night. As Elio bid a final goodbye to Oliver, I stood by him. The mist in his eyes and heart was in mine too. And I hovered my glance on his name and let the pool in my eyes fill a little more. And then, in a pained resignation, I closed my eyes. It has been almost a day since I read the last word of this book. And yet, the moment I picked it up to review its contents a few minutes ago, my eyes began to cloud again. Because everything read and felt and wept I finished reading the book late last night. As Elio bid a final goodbye to Oliver, I stood by him. The mist in his eyes and heart was in mine too. And I hovered my glance on his name and let the pool in my eyes fill a little more. And then, in a pained resignation, I closed my eyes. It has been almost a day since I read the last word of this book. And yet, the moment I picked it up to review its contents a few minutes ago, my eyes began to cloud again. Because everything read and felt and wept for, yesterday, came gushing back and I once again massaged my aching vein to quieten and take this only to be a story. But is it? Italy. Summers. When Oliver, a 24-years old university scholar comes to stay with Professor Perlman who was to oversee his manuscript before it went into publishing, the Professor’s 17-years old son, Elio, begins experiencing hitherto unknown sensations inside him. The two young men have things in common – reading, biking, sun-bathing, swimming. But it is their different responses to their attractions that usher in an unusual yet memorable season of sensual tension and passionate love, which neither could have imagined getting caught in till that point in their lives. Between the raw appeal of unexplored spots and the sensory turmoil of gasping breath, the unbearable tease of nubile skin and the obscure redundancy of sartorial shame, 'Call Me By Your Name' is devastatingly beautiful. But those searching for this beauty in strength shall not be rewarded as much as those looking for it in vulnerabilities, and it is precisely in these vulnerabilities that Aciman’s characters shine. I began to appreciate the colossal damage Elio was knowingly inflicting upon himself for unearthing (and preserving) the truth of his heart. I began to appreciate the immense dignity Oliver was granting to their relationship by stitching himself up so Elio could breathe (and blossom). I began to appreciate the unconditional room Prof. Perlman was giving his son so he could venture out as far as he could and learn his lessons, first hand. You had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!” In Aciman’s languorously seductive, deeply measured and wholly hopeful prose, Elio and Oliver discover more than the heady magic of corporeal beauty; they discover a chest full of memories to last a lifetime. And they learn to embrace love the way it should be embraced – without conditions.

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