This review contains spoilers.
“He came. He left. Nothing else had changed. I had no changed. The world hadn’t changed. Yet nothing would be the same. All that remains is dream-making and strange remembrance.”
Published: 2017, by Macmillan Audio.
Length: 7hrs 43mins (Narrated by Armie Hammer)
Genre: Fiction, LGBT, Romance, Contemporary, Adult
Contains: Sexual Content, Alcohol, Death
‘Call Me by Your Name’ is a tale of a summer long romance between seventeen year old, Elio, and twenty-four year old, Oliver. When Oliver stays as a guest in Elio’s home for the summer, the pair gradually get closer. Elio develops an obsession of sorts with the man, finding the man being permanently on his mind, which eventually blossoms into a short-lived romance. The novel then chronicles the next twenty years that follow, and how their love for another never dies.
At first, I wasn’t entirely sure how to review this title, having mixed feelings on the story. However, after sitting with it and allowing myself time to process the events of the novel, I actually discovered how much I enjoyed it.
This book is extremely character driven, being narrated by young Elio as he experiences his sexual awakening with Oliver. I loved Elio’s character, being overly passionate with everything he does and his intelligence shone through with the narration, finding himself logically exploring every situation. Event though he was extremely confused with his feelings, unsure how to cope with them, his maturity was definitely my favourite element of his character. Being a seventeen year old boy, Elio is surprisingly independent and headstrong, diving into all situations regardless of his emotions and still managing to protect himself from the truth he knew would come.
Oliver, however, was Elio’s opposite, being more reserved and a mystery for the majority of the novel. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about his character, not knowing much about him to formulate an opinion. However, his relationship with Elio was still a tragically beautiful one. It was clear of the passion the pair had for another, the tension rising the more the novel progressed until the heartbreaking climax. Elio’s uncertainty was clear throughout the narrative, even in scenes where the pair were in private together, which summarised their relationship perfectly; there was never going to be a happy ending, there being desperation and doubt each time they were near.
Although, I adored the writing style of his novel, Aciman’s narrative being beautifully fluent and smooth throughout, the pace of the story was it’s downfall. This book was incredibly long-winded, 2/3’s of the book being full of stares across the room and single nights of passion before the pair finally spoke about their feelings. They refer to it as ‘when they were together’, yet that only lasted hardly a chapter whereas the rest of the book was tension and uncertainty. Don’t get me wrong, I love a doomed romance, yet the pace of his book is what made it take me a whole month to read; I got bored.
Overall, regardless of the uncomfortable-yet-infamous erotic scenes, I enjoyed this story. Elio and Oliver’s romance was heart-wrenchingly beautiful and I’ll definitely be seeking out the film adaptation in the future.