“It’s Oliver,” he said. He had forgotten.”
Elio’s parents helped young academics revise manuscripts by letting them board at their home in Italy for six weeks. The summer Oliver came to stay Elio was 17. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman tells the story of their attraction and eventual romance fueled by desire and obsession, and the lifetime effect it has on their lives. Expressed through raw human passion Call Me By Your Name is an unforgettable story of intimacy and acceptance.
*Review may contain spoilers*
Is this another read because of a future movie and cute leading man, this one called Armie Hammer?
Why, yes, yes it is.
I’d never heard of this book before the movie and Armie Hammer’s tennis shorts started becoming common conversation. Wanting to start off December right (compared to November that is) I decided to read it. It’s not terribly long and I was able to read it in a few hours.
I wouldn’t call the structure entirely conscious thinking as there definite quotations and such, but there are moments where it’s hard to discern what is real and what is Elio’s fantasy. Most times I would think I had it down, knew what was going on, only to blink and realize I was completely wrong.
While the conscious stream isn’t my favorite literary device I understand why Call Me By Your Name is written in the style. It helps show Elio’s fantasies and his coming of age through understanding what he wants and needs from Oliver.
Granted, I couldn’t help but hate Elio for most of this story.
I get it. He’s 17 and doesn’t always make the best decisions, hastily making conclusions when there are none, and I was 17 once too. Youth makes us do stupid things. But, that doesn’t excuse Elio’s behavior toward Marzia.
He does apologize for not meeting with her, but he shoves her feelings to the side once he and Oliver get together. Hell, he still sleeps with her while sleeping with Oliver too and never brings it up with her or even tells her he can’t see her anymore.
I don’t know why, but most coming of age stories have this ‘throw away’ character just to show the ‘confusion’ of the main character and I’m just done with it. There’s no reason for me to support an ass of a character who only concerns themselves with their own wants and feelings then gets upset when the ‘throw away’ tells them off. Had Elio and Mariza had a conversation about it and she understood or something I wouldn’t be making such a fuss. But Mariza was only created for sex and she deserves better.
I found myself recalling Maurice for quite a bit of this reading and it helped me navigate my feelings toward the two men. And, while there are plenty similarities, I believe I prefer Oliver and Elio’s story to theirs. And while there were parts of both Oliver and Elio I didn’t particularly like, but at the same time, I understood why Aciman wrote them that way.
I almost wish there had been an insight into how Oliver felt about the relationship and why he chose the path he did. It might have helped me understand both characters further and not remind me so much of Maurice and fear what Oliver would do.
Despite this, I still enjoyed the story, making me want these two to figure their feelings out in time before the end of the six weeks and causing me to gasp out loud in pain when Oliver began to forget.
Aciman has a way with words and can speak straight to the human soul about passion, ache, and acceptance. It’s beautifully raw that anyone, despite age, sex, or preference, can relate.