My reading tips this week is the melancholy, bittersweet, heart-breaking and enchanting Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. This is one of the most touching, beautiful love stories ever. Completely unforgettable. There is so much emotions going on underneath, all hidden feelings, all subdued passion; it’s a story that will go straight to your heart!
Call Me By Your Name is a passionate coming of age novel with an all-consuming love story. It takes place in Italy the summer that Elio turns 17 and his father invites the doctoral student, 24-year-old Oliver, to stay with them for the summer. Elio is immediately drawn to Oliver, years later he can still remember “watching him step out of the cab, billowy blue shirt, wide-open collar, sun-glasses, straw hat, skin everywhere. It might have started right there and then.”
I love the writing style, it’s so beautiful, almost poetic. It’s like every word has a hidden meaning, as if each and every word has been chosen carefully to provide as much feelings as possible; to really make you feel deep down Elio’s heart-wrenching longing for Oliver yourself. Even the title of the book has a deeper meaning, just watching the cover now brings out so many feelings!
This sure is a book that gets under your skin! It has so many layers and levels, and André Aciman does a remarkable job in describing the over-whelming mix of desire, fear, lust and joy, that comes with first love. The story is affecting, melancholic and passionate without ever being melodramatic.
And not to forget, the Italian setting and the vivid descriptions of the summer house, the views and the village, adds so much to the story. Reading this book make you feel the warm Italian sun on your skin and smell the flowers. To give you an idea, this book is a bit like A Room with a View meets Brokeback Mountain. Or Brideshead Revisited taking place in Italy in the 1980s.
One of the most beautiful and heartbreaking quotes in the book is this:
“Elio,” I repeated, to say it was I speaking but also to spark our old game and show I’d forgotten nothing. “It’s Oliver,” he said. He’d forgotten.
Such a beautiful way of expressing so much and yet so little. In this quote, André Aciman manages to describe what they both shared together and the significance of it.
The book has also been turned into a movie, showing right now at cinemas, but I think I’d rather avoid it and keep living with all the vivid images I already have of Oliver and Elio and the Italian summer settings. One thing is for sure, I will never forget this devastatingly beautiful book.
Find out more about the books and the author here: André Aciman