Review - Call me by Your Name
Review Submitted by: Ahana Chowdhury
BOOK : CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
AUTHOR : ANDRE ACIMAN
PUBLISHER : ATLANTIC BOOKS
DATE OF PUBLISHING : 23 JANUARY 2007
NUMBER OF PAGES : 248
RATING : 4.5/5
The novel Call Me By Your Name, written by Andre Aciman and published in 2007 takes us way back in 1983 to a small town of Northern Italy and provides us a glimpse into the life of 17 year old Elio, the son of a well respected Archaeology professor, who is spending the summer in their lush Italian country home.
The story revolves around the two main characters, Elio and Oliver and is narrated from Elio’s perspective. On one hand, we have Elio, a curious young boy having in depth knowledge of music, music artists and history, who is exceedingly smart for his age and is also beginning to explore and come into terms with his adolescent emotions and physicality. On the other hand, we have 24 year old American Oliver, a post doc teaching at Columbia who has come as a summer intern to their house in Italy for a period of few weeks. Oliver’s charming, outgoing, self-confident yet orthodox personality is in sharp contrast to Elio’s reserved and conscious yet bold one. Elio and Oliver are quick to develop a friendship between them, a friendship, the terms of which are not quite understood by the two themselves. We see a young Elio lusting after handsome and intimidating Oliver, filled strongly with desire and desperation but also frightened by the intensity of his emotions. On another hand, we see Oliver who is older and thus more sensible but not entirely devoid of passionate feelings of his own, which he struggles to suppress.
The book deals with raw, honest emotions and the naivety and predicament of an adolescent mind. Aciman does not shy away from portraying his characters in the most unembellished form of humanity. Symbolism is also strong in the novel as the author uses everyday objects such as apricots and shirts as pivotal items of significance in his story.
The novel, though set in 1983, is modern and forward thinking in its approach with Elio’s father being a remarkable and iconic character in the story that encourages his son to be his true self and becomes unquestionably one of the best father figures in literary history. The book also deals with the controversial topic of homosexuality in an unabashed and honest manner, thus making the novel instrumental in making people understand the normalcy of the subject. We also see how social norms affect the decisions and choices made by homosexual people and how it compels them to take steps that are not in accordance with their wishes in order to merely be socially accepted.
Aciman takes us into a rollercoaster ride of emotions in his book. We feel Elio’s desperation and we sigh a sigh of relief at his joy. We find ourselves swooning over Italian landscapes and then we find ourselves hit by a truck of grief so strong, it renders us unable to do anything but cry and silently implore for happier times.
The book ends with a line that is capable of single-handedly breaking our hearts into a million pieces but despite our inner protests and longing for an alternative ending, we know in our hearts that there is no other ending that would have better suited the novel and its characters. I would recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for something different and wants to feel the power of youthful longing, but I must also warn the readers to prepare to have their hearts broken.
Reviewer Contact Details:
Ahana, is a 17-year-old girl hailing from Kolkata. Presently studying commerce and plans to pursue Eng Hons. and hopefully, work as an Editor in a magazine or newspaper company or in a publishing house in future.
Her Instagram Handle is the_grim_reader394