Call Me By Your Name
Author: André Aciman
Series: Call Me By Your Name, #1
Length: 8 hours
Narrator: Armie Hammer
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Original Publication Date: 2017
Genre(s): Fiction, Romance, LGBT
Elio and his parents spend every summer in a gorgeous cliffside mansion in Italy. During the summer, they play host to a different graduate student every year, who’s meant to help Elio’s father while also working on their own project. In 1983, the summer Elio is seventeen, a man named Oliver is their summer guest. There is an instant spark between Elio and Oliver, but each pretends it doesn’t exist, almost acting completely indifferent to each other. But as the weeks go by, their attraction towards one another becomes harder to ignore — and harder to resist.
I was never interested in reading Call Me By Your Name until I randomly downloaded the audiobook. I’d heard of the movie, but didn’t know it was a book nor was interested enough to watch the movie. I’m not sure why I ended up downloading the book, to be honest, but I’m so glad I did. CMBYN is incredibly moving and beautiful, and was a deeply emotional story to experience. It’s told in first person POV from Elio’s perspective. The story is told nonlinearly — it jumps all over the place during the course of that summer. It’s very much an introspective novel, with more of Elio’s thoughts and feelings and experience rather than dialogue and character interaction. I sometimes find those books harder to read, or at least take longer to read, so I’m very glad I ended up listening on audiobook. Armie Hammer has a beautiful voice that I enjoyed listening to. The prose sounded like poetry coming out of his mouth.
The book is incredibly open, honest, and raw. Often times I felt embarrassed, like I was intruding, listening to something personal that wasn’t meant for me to hear. The story is very intimate. The characters are complex. The suspense is killer, wondering will they/won’t they, if/when. I felt like I was holding my breath through so many scenes, just waiting. It was such an intense, unique experience reading this book. This is one of those books you’ll wish you could read again for the first time.
My only qualm was Part III. I felt the pacing was all wrong, the plot boring and disjointed from the rest of the book. Luckily it was a fairly small part of the book, but it was definitely my least favorite. My favorite part, other than the first kiss of course, was Elio’s conversation with his dad towards the end of the book. Though the entire story is emotional, this scene actually made me cry. I watched the movie a couple days after reading the book, and this scene in the movie also made me cry (as well as the ending because wow).
Truly a great book that I am so happy to have randomly read. Both the book and the movie are true art, and I recommend them to literally anyone. So if you haven’t read CMBYN yet, do so now — especially with it being Pride month! And watch the movie! And heck, go listen to Lil Nas X’s song, even! They’re all fantastic and worth it.
–“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”
–“We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”
–“If I could have him like this in my dreams every night of my life, I’d stake my entire life on dreams and be done with the rest.”
–“Time makes us sentimental. Perhaps, in the end, it is because of time that we suffer.”