For those looking for a last minute summer book, Andre Aciman’s debut novel Call Me By Your Name makes for the perfect read. Aciman’s depiction of summer in Italy coupled with the novel’s themes of nostalgia capture the mood of August’s last weeks.
Filled with intimate descriptions of both inner passions and surrounding charm, Call Me By Your Name reaches deep into the doubts and experiences of its teenage protagonist to deliver a story of fulfillment and selfhood. The novel offers an unique perspective on both love and the coming-of-age genre, while reaching beyond the relationship at its core to comment on human nature and youth.
Call Me By Your Name Summary
The story centers around Elio, a young man living with his parents on Italian Riveria. Every summer, Elio’s parents, two academics, welcome a student into their home to help with any books or projets his father might be working on. As the family welcomes Oliver, an upbeat but ultimately distant American, Elio is forced to think more deeply about his identity as Oliver, many years older than Elio, both attracts and repels him.
As their friendship and intmacy grows, Elio’s thoughts unravel and expose to the reader both raw desires and patterns of self-doubt. Through the events of the novel, Elio’s life is forever altered and his ideas of love and passion are transformed.
The writing is easy to pick up and portrays emotion in cutting, impactful passages while leaving enough nuance to engage readers fully in the novel’s development. The narrative is told in a style of reminiscence, with the now older narrator looking back upon the memories which make up the book. Through these snapshots of experience, Aciman establishes the passionate, if sometimes tense attraction between Elio and Oliver.
Call Me By Your Name combines natural splendor with inner struggle
By interweaving events with engrossing depictions of the teenage psyche, filled with its mixture of hope, fear, and doubt, Aciman succeeds in portraying both the joy and volatile rawness of new love. As Elio encounters both obstacles and enjoyment, the depiction of his experience is colored by Aciman’s ability to describe both the everyday charm and scenic splendor of the novel’s surroundings with a tone of nostalgia and comfort. The effect is that Aciman builds a world out of the mind of his protagonist, where both the emotions of the teenager and the wisdom of the adult are allowed to breathe and comment.
For readers interested in character-driven stories, Call Me By Your Name is ideal. While its plot hangs loosely around several memories and motifs, the novel’s characters are well-developed and introspective. In Elio, the reader can expect to find not only a refreshingly compassionate portrait of a young person but also that of a complex human being.
The choices Elio faces with his emotions make the novel a great choice for those looking to be engrossed in a narrative of self-actualization and self-discovery. The supporting cast of characters is also refreshingly original, as Acimen dodges cliches surrounding Elio’s struggle with people of comfort and companionship.
Timothee Chalamet as Elio
As a coming-of-age story, Call Me By Your Name is compelling for the fact that while it captures the nuance and pain of growing up, it does so in a way that is unique to memory. While the novel can be powerful for readers just coming into themselves as teenagers, it may be even more so for those who are themselves looking back at the defining periods of their lives.
The novel portrays the struggle for self-understanding with a tone that invites its readers to think about their own lives and desires, instilling within it a bittersweetness, most times alien to the coming-of-age genre. In the balance between the inexperience of youth and the longing of age, the novel portrays something unique and human.
While it may be overshadowed by the movie it inspired, as a novel Call Me By Your Name offers an enlightening view of both sexuality and identity in a style that is accessible and searing. Capturing the essence of summer, of both beginnings and endings, the novel explores various kinds of love while bringing the reader ever closer to its protagonist and conflict.
It makes for a cathartic and memorable read that will satisfy readers looking for a modern and well-developed take on a classic genre. In this novel, a reader can expect to be emotionally invested in both the characters’ lives and the thoughts they inspire about their own life.