Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
I had been thinking about reading this book for quite a while. Everyone kept going on about the movie and how good it was, but I knew I had to read the book before I watched the adaptation. Then I met someone at a party and we started talking about books (because that’s what you talk about when you’re at a party… right?). He told me this was one of his favourites. I guess it was just meant to be. I picked up a copy from my library a couple of days later.
Although I didn’t fall in love with this book the way I thought I would, it’s definitely one that has lingered in my mind even to this day. Maybe I would have really loved it if I had picked it up during my summer holiday. The setting is so wonderfully written, the heat of those Italian summer days just burns on the page. Maybe October wasn’t the best time of year to read this book… it feels like I missed out on some of the ambience.
As for the story, there were times where I just hoped things would pick up, where I was waiting for something to happen but so was the main-character so I guess it just fit with the overall atmosphere of the book. I ended up really liking it, where it went, how it flowed and although Elio sometimes did things that made me want to throw something at his head, I could forgive him because he’s so young and he’s trying to make sense of who he is and who he wants to be.
Would I recommend this book? Yup, yes, absolutely. Just bear in mind that there are more than a couple explicit sexual scenes and that Oliver is a lot older than Elio (who is only 17) so… You decide for yourself whether that’s something you want to read about.
One thing’s for sure. You’ll never look at peaches the same way again.
(That’s what the person who recommended this book told me. I have to agree. And I did let him know when I had reached that particular scene 🙂 I’ve also been told that the movie version of this scene has nothing on the book version… So read the book!)