“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had not changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same.”
Although nothing significant happened throughout the duration it took me to read Call Me By Your Name, I too felt changed. Maybe it was because I spent the last 40 pages crying and needing to take breaks because my tears were making it difficult to read. Or maybe it was because Elio and Oliver are two characters that will stay with me forever. Or maybe it was because it reminded me of so much in my own life and relationship. Or maybe it was because representation matters, and CMBYN succeeded in creating a beautiful, unique love story between two young men. Honestly, it was probably a combination of all the reasons listed, along with a few other reasons that I’m not even sure of.
The mechanics of CMBYN are truly beautiful. Aciman’s style of writing is prose-like and it absolutely entranced me as I read. Like I said before, these characters are so well done. I even became attached to Elio’s parents, despite the fact that they were honestly background characters (with an exception at the end of the novel). I loved being in Elio’s mind and being able to hear first-hand the narrative voice that struggled with desire, lust, love, and every emotion in between. At times, I felt like an intruder in Elio’s head. Some thoughts were so intimate, that I almost wanted to hide and give him the privacy he deserves. But I LOVED being inside the mind of a character with such intense thoughts. It was so realistic. We’ve all been there to some extent— wanting a person so bad that it practically drives us crazy. I could totally understand Oliver and Elio’s attractions to one another too. I loved their intense and intelligent conversations. I loved partaking in the beautiful scenery of Italy with them. I felt like a third party, a ghost, hovering invisible, but witnessing every second of their love story all the same. It was so damn real. And for that, it was breathtaking.
This isn’t a spoiler. You know from the first few pages that this is not a love story with a happy ending. It doesn’t just magically work out. You know that the narrator is in the future, recalling his past six weeks with Oliver that changed his life. But I loved how realistic a love story CMBYN is. Not every love story works out. Not every lover we have is destined to be “the one”. Sometimes, in order for the love to have the greatest impact on us, we need to suffer from loss.
Overall, CMBYN was a beautiful love story that transported me to the shores of Italy in the early 1980s. Everything was so real— the characters, the love story, the setting, the tone…everything. Aciman’s characters literally came to life and captivated me in all of the best ways. As Elio was falling, I was falling too. Not just for Oliver, but for every single aspect of the story. When the story came to the end, I felt ever single ounce of pain Elio did.
You should really give this incredible book a try. I know I’ll be watching the film adaption this week! I doubt it can live up to the incredible bar the novel set, but that’s okay. I had already experienced something amazing with the novel. Thank you, Andre Aciman.
Rating: 5/5 stars