Erin Wilson, Features Writer

Review: Call Me By Your Name By André Aciman

André Aciman is a writer of stellar reputation, most famous for Call Me By Your Name and its companion book, Find Me. A master wordsmith, Aciman is a peerless stylist when it comes to pin-pointing loving and difficult emotions and giving them life through emotionally complex characters.

Whilst his methods and stories may be somewhat unconventional and strange at times, it is no secret that these stories nevertheless hit home for romantics and poets alike.

The original story of Call Me By Your Name concerns Oliver, a student from America, and Elio who stays at his parents' cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Across only six weeks, the pair embark on a hidden relationship of intense desire and affection as they test the boundaries of first love.

There is nothing I did not like about this book, even after finding certain plot points questionable; the language in which they were related and the emotion fuelling the scenes completely overwhelmed any confusion. Aciman’s writing is poetic throughout; Call Me By Your Name demonstrates the calibre and strength of Aciman’s acuity, given that this is his debut novel and it has met with great critical acclaim.

André Aciman
André Aciman
This book will resonate with very many readers given the trajectory of the phenomenon of first love that it follows – from tentative indifference, to friendship and ultimately, to emotional engagement. Throughout the course of the novel Oliver and Elio circle each other before committing to mutual affection.

A young audience experiencing love, sex and relationships for the first time, and the shy feelings of awkwardness that emerge with those initial butterflies, will identify with Oliver and Elio’s relationship.

Whilst the relationship the two share is beautiful and poetic, Aciman is adept at circumventing any romantic clichés which might detract from their unique connection. What eventually unwinds the men from each other’s embrace is far from the stuff of cliché: Aciman moves them apart with the subtlest, most powerful tool - time. There is no subsequent fight or argument, and no one is betrayed. One becomes ordinary and marries; the other’s romantic fate is vaguely sketched. By the final page, the reader feels nothing less than a palpable sense of loss.

Call Me By Your Name is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.