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on 24 March 2017
I'll be honest, I got this because me and my best friend heard about "the peach scene" and wanted to read it to see what happens for ourselves. Not disappointed, 9/10 for the peaches, now onto the actual review:

I'd say Call Me By Your Name is a book of longing. It starts slower than you might expect, taking you day by day in Elio's skin as he pines for Oliver, who is staying with his family for 6 weeks, and where that pining eventually gets him, and once it does it goes all too fast. It might cover two of the four chapters of their story, but you dread it coming to an end and want to cling on to what they, and you, have now. Soon, it shows you just how little 6 weeks is in the great big scheme of life, but how it can affect you forever and really liked that pacing, it's almost hard to live with because it's too real, how the aching seems to go so much slower than the soaring.

A lot of books put you in a single character's mind and do it well, but not many do it as well as Aciman has done here, I'm actually of an age with Oliver but I felt 17 all over again seeing inside Elio's mind, feeling that massive love that you're convinced will kill you if you don't indulge it and swaying between playing it cool and being a huge, awkward mess because you're trying too hard. I don't think that is something that's easy to capture on a page and get it right, it's a feeling that people will rather resonate with because they've felt the same, or teach someone who hasn't been through it just how all-consuming and passionate it feels.

The setting is a character all of it's own, 1983 Italy is there and it's real, I can imagine some people wouldn't like that amount of detail and feel it detracts from the point but that's a lot how thinking goes so I believe it's a great literary device, some small tangents that pick up all the senses that you can, sure it might take a few lines instead of actually experiencing it for yourself but it's much better than the writing being flat with no sense of the world the characters are living in. You really have to give it a read if you're looking for a sense of romance, because it's not just between these young men but all around them.

All in all, I loved this and, sure, there were some parts that weren't perfect; vis-a-vis being used three times on the same page (whoops?), how most of the characters with dialogue are incredibly smart and well spoken and never fumble (we do see Elio do this, but otherwise he's so clever some of the literary talk went right over my head), that Oliver is somehow going to be a professor at a huge university at 24, and an eyebrow raising moment in a bathroom in Rome. None of that detracts from how this book made me put it down for a week before I finished it because I did not want it to end, which I think is the whole point of the boys' journey.
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on 1 June 2017
It took me in from the very first page. The love and friendship between two men. The story follows their first meeting and 20 years later. Wonderfully​ written. 'later!'
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on 6 March 2017
I found it difficult to get started but then it grabs you and you cannot stop till you get to your destination then you want to stay.!
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on 25 March 2017
This book swallowed me whole. Once again I was young and eager and afraid.
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on 30 September 2008
Andre Aciman, a noted essayist and City University of New York professor of comparative literature, has written one of the most memorable debut novels published this year, "Call Me by Your Name", ranking alongside Eugene Drucker's "The Savior" for its emotional intensity, as well as its high literary quality. It's a truly memorable coming-of-age story about an adolescent Italian Jewish man, Elio, who learns a lot about love and total intimacy from a visiting American professor, Oliver, during a brief six week period one summer, set, sometime, in Italy, back in the 1970s or 1980s. Aciman offers us an honest, unflinching portrait of total intimacy, showing how these two men gradually move from mere friendship to an all too brief, but intense, romantic encounter, in a small town on the Italian Riviera, and then later, one night, in Rome, shortly before Oliver flies back home. It is an encounter that will truly haunt both men for the rest of their lives, as depicted in occasional scenes that jump forward to the present day. Aciman's portrait is truly compelling, and one that I found impossible to put down (No wonder why it has been considered for prominent literary awards, such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction.); Aciman is not only a fine literary stylist, but a compelling storyteller too. Without question, his fine novel deserves ample consideration, not only from those familiar with his excellent nonfiction prose, but also from others, such as yours truly, who are not fully acquainted with his work.
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This is one of the great love stories. It evokes the longings, the sublimities, the pangs of first love with a poetic transcendence that only the finest writers can achieve. You usually have to go back to the classics, to Goethe and Turgenev, to find such delicate angst, such aching tenderness, to experience such an intense sense of intimacy and loss. There have been many coming of age stories, particularly those that feature the transformative experience of first gay love, some very good, but I cannot recall any as good as this one. It's a literary novel, scrupulous, poetic and analytic in its sensuous handling of language; it gets under the skins of its two main characters, to explore the multiplicity of meanings found in gestures, expressions, conversations, incidents, feelings. It is Proustian: the author, analysing through the eyes of a narrator looking back at his youthful self from the vantage of years and wisdom - just as Marcel did in Proust's great novel - immerses himself once more in the myriad signs of desire, love and loss.

Elio, seventeen, a gifted musician, highly intelligent and literate, exceptional in many ways, meets at his parent's Italian coastal villa, Oliver, a handsome twenty-four year old, a student of his father; he is working on a book about Herodotus. Oliver has come to stay for the summer: the weather is perfect, the villa and its surroundings idyllic, the household full of civilised, liberal minded people and servants: this is the ideal setting for a summer romance, and Aciman evokes it with the skill of a subtle painter. At first, as Elio desires Oliver, trying to hide it, even from himself, but giving himself away in so many awkward ways, it is a novel of unrequited love, and everyone who has ever felt unspoken desire of this intensity knows what contortions the soul has to go through, balanced between lust and denial. At first Oliver is ambiguous in his response to the boy; he leads a life off-stage that adds to his allure, his mystery, his apparent unattainabilty, but there are signs that he's interested, signs that are highly erotic. And then the breakthrough, the souls bared, the physical intimacy, the other-worldly happiness, the sense of two ardent, exceptional beings mingling... (one has to use this language to try and indicate the profundity of this love). In the final section, which happens largely in Rome, we move from the realm of consummated love to the sharper realities of the outside world where a sense of loss, of breaking apart, gathers in a city full of pleasures and temptations. A coda gives us those poignant, fleeting, regretful moments of this love's afterlife, when the men meet a few times years later. During one of these meetings, Oliver, now a middle-aged married man with sons, declares that Elio was his 'heart of hearts'. It underlines the understated tragedy of a love lost, one which remains inexplicable, that seems like a violation of the essential rules of love. The emotion at the end is almost too much to bear, at least for this reader.

Love stories seldom come as good as this. It's amazing that it's a first novel, the handling of theme and language so mature, so intelligent, so moving. As I write in 2017, ten years after it was published, a film has been released of the book. I am wondering how a film maker can turn such Proustian prose, such a delicate analysis of the heart's movements, into visuals without losing the essential texture of the story, the sense of a man looking back with such refined emotion at the defining summer of his life. I wonder if it will be able to catch the exceptional nature of this love between men, not through the introspective meditations of a literary text but through visuals, where everything has to be inferred.
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on 27 March 2007
Set in a small town in Italy, this moving novel captures a meaningful summer in the life of Elio, a 17 year old male. Elio's homelife is relaxed; his intelligent, apparently liberal, parents have a constant flow of relatives and interesting visitors breezing in and out of their house for meals and animated conversation. The downside, as far as Elio is concerned, is that no one seeks his opinion - he is "the youngest at the table and the least likely to be listened to". Each summer, Elio's father invites a young academic to stay at their summer home on the Italian Riviera. Fearing the typical "dull house guest", Elio is immediately captivated when the confident, handsome, 24 year old Oliver strolls into his home, and his life. For the first few weeks of Oliver's stay, Elio fantasises about Oliver, and becomes involved with mind games and nuances. But are they all in his imagination, or is Oliver also involved in the game?

The novel is tautly crafted and so evocative of the environment that the reader can vividly sense the undercurrent of tense sideways glances against the backdrop of hazy heat and salt-speckled sea breeze. Undoubtedly some issues remain unresolved, such as the peculiar absence of jealousy felt by Elio ("It never bothered me to think of him [sleeping with a girl]"), or any explanation as to why Elio feels that a relationship with Oliver would be in some sense 'wrong'. Further, Elio's 'voice' often sounds younger than his stated 17 years, and the novel might have held more powerful authenticity if Elio had been, for example, 13 or 14 years old. Nevertheless, under this author's expert craftsmanship, such queries are largely insignificant and all form part of the three-dimensional nature of the characters.

Overall, 'Call Me By Your Name' is a enthralling novel of adolescent insecurity, lust, obsession and intensely passionate emotions ("to be who I am because of you"). André Aciman writes with easy fluidity, creating beguiling characters, page-turning suspense, intense eroticism and nostalgic poignancy. Highly recommended.
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on 2 August 2008
Every year Elio's parents invite an overseas scholar to come to their summer cottage on the Italian coast to work on his manuscript. In the meantime he can make use of all the facilities, as long as he helps to keep up the intellectual conversation after the meals and helps Elio's father with his correspondence. The year that Elio, a very intelllectual boy, is 17 years old they have invited Oliver, a young scientist from America. From the beginning Elio is fascinated by Oluiver: the way he behaves, the way he talks, the way he moves, his ease in life, but somehow he does not know how to get through to Oliver. Sometimes it seems that there is contact, then something happens that drives them apart again. It takes until a few weeks before Oliver's leave for Elio and Oliver to really solve their misunderstandings, after which they become very dear friends. But Oliver has to return to America...

A book about first loves, longing, the inability to express your feelings, misunderstanding when you try to interpret other people's actions and behaviour and all those other things that anybody who has been in love recognizes. Written in a beautiful style and covered in an Italian summer holiday sauce. A joy to read.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2010
This book broke my heart! I feel it's important to say that before anything else, because I don't want to give you the wrong impression; that this is some kind of fluffy tale of a forbidden holiday romance. That would cheapen it, and despite the occasional sex scenes which might put off a few sensitive readers, this is a story not cheap in any way, shape or form.

Call Me By Your Name is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful things I have ever read (probably the most beautiful, second only to Lolita). It is the story of a passionate, intimate and eternal - yet doomed - love between a boy named Elio and his father's house guest, Oliver, and the incredible connection that grows between them over the summer, and culminates in a tragically all-too-brief stay in Rome. The boys grow into men but their friendship, and complete and total yearning for each other, continues to draw them together even as life draws them apart...

I'll confess it took me a while to get into this story; lack of dialogue tagging made it hard for me to know who was speaking, and Elio's narrative voice sometimes gets carried away on boring tangents - he's a little too high-brow to be believeable as a 17 year old. But at the same time the innocent, desperate boy's prose, imagery, and obsessive fantasies about the carefree Oliver (which he gradually comes to realise are not as pathetically one-sided as he thought!) are mesmeric, and only a few chapters in I found myself hypnotised by the sights, sounds and smells of the mediterranean, as if I'd been sucked right into Elio and Oliver's beautiful world. As I say, there is a lot of infuriating back and forth, lazy days and 'will they won't they' going on in the beginning, but don't let it put you off, because it's all an effective, agonising build up to when they finally do get together.

However...like Cathy and Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights, the characters in this book suffer from major 'bang their heads together' syndrome. It's infuriating, and I often wanted to scream 'WHY? WHY DON'T YOU JUST BE TOGETHER???!!! ARGH!!' Honestly, it's incredible how much effect this book had on me. The image of Elio and Oliver's kiss in Rome will be forever burned into my imagination as though I was right there with them, and one bit of the book right near the end when Elio is wishing that he could tell Oliver something and just can't...wow, that bit made me put down the book for a moment and just burst into tears. I literally could not stop sobbing for about five minutes - I cannot remember the last time any book made me cry that hard!! (Apart from when Dobby died in Harry Potter, but that's a story for another day...)

Call Me By Your Name is both a celebration and a eulogy, and even though it leaves you with a bittersweet ache inside, it also leaves you with the memories of one of the most enduring love stories ever written. Beautiful and heartrending, this is utter class and will stay with me until my dying day. I hope that, one long hot summer in the distant future, I might be brave enough to grab some tissues, curl up, and let Elio and Oliver take me back to Monet's Berm with them.
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on 16 July 2009
This wonderful novel by Andre Aciman is so moving and powerful, it brought out every emotion in me as I read. I could not put the book down, wanting to find out how the two main characters and their relationship developed. For me, a special moment is when Elio, the 17 year-old main character's father tells him, "You had a beautiful friendship...", (referring to his relationship with Oliver) "Maybe more than a friendship... most parents would hope the whole thing goes away... remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once." By the end of book I was moved to tears and I can't stop thinking about the story and what might have been for the two characters Elio and Oliver.
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