So, after my post on Sunday, I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the day, and I read Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman because it was a) on my kindle, and b) it seemed popular in my Sunday post. I heard really amazing things, Goodreads has been calling it by great names, and there is a film out. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood for it, but I feel rather on the fence about Call Me By Your Name.
The story of a sudden and powerful romance that blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest Oliver during a restless summer on the Italian Riviera. Unrelenting currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire threaten to overwhelm the lovers who at first feign indifference to the charge between them. What grows from the depths of their souls 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 they both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
Blurb from Goodreads
It’s a retrospective novel, told with the benefit of decades having past since that Summer when Elio is seventeen and Oliver stays from America. Oliver is a visiting professor (twenty-four), staying with Elio’s family for the university break. It’s very introspective, very sensual and very sexual. It’s exploring the extreme emotions around that first proper experience of love and lust. It’s vivid, it waxes poetic, it’s obsessive.
I will come outright and say that I genuinely don’t know if I did or didn’t like this book. In some respects, it was really good – it was beautiful prose, but at the same time it felt very obsessive – everything that summer was about Oliver. I couldn’t tell you precisely what I did like, or didn’t like, but while there were positives and negatives, there is no net difference. I have read it. Excellent. Time to tick it off. I’m not going to go waving the book in unsuspecting friends faces, insisting they read it. I’m just… neutral.
It’s every single coming of age story trope going – you’ve got Italy, the beautiful older guy, the bicycles ect. For me, personally, this book fell a bit flat. I really liked Elio’s parent’s even if Elio was, well, a seventeen year old boy flush with lust. It was all very sexual. Also, the age gap between Elio and Oliver bothered me, I won’t lie. Not just the seven year age gap (which isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things) but the fact that Elio is a schoolboy, and Oliver is an assistant professor. It just…felt a little off. I don’t know. If you were coming expecting a clear cut yay or nay for Call me by your name, I am sorry to disappoint, but I’m still puzzling out how I feel about this book.
I gave it a 3* on Goodreads, because I just… I don’t know how I feel, if I liked it, if I didn’t. Very on the fence, am I.
“P.S. We are not written for one instrument alone; I am not, neither are you.”
Call Me By Your Name
What did you think of Call Me By Your Name?