Now a Major Motion Picture from Director Luca Guadagnino, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and Written by Three-Time Oscar™ Nominee James Ivory
The Basis of the Oscar-Winning Best Adapted Screenplay
A New York Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A Vulture Book Club Pick
An Instant Classic and One of the Great Love Stories of Our Time
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.
The psychological maneuvers that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in André Aciman’s frank, unsentimental, heartrending elegy to human passion. Call Me by Your Name is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled, and ultimately unforgettable.
“The book is incredible. My wife [Elizabeth Chambers] calls it the sexiest book she’s ever read. It humanises love in a really powerful, beautiful way.”―Armie Hammer, Time Out (London)
“I loved the movie…and the book completely blew me away!”―Marc Jacobs on Instagram
“I finally read André Aciman’s deeply moving novel Call Me by Your Name, racing to do so before I saw Luca Guadagnino’s (sublime) movie adaptation with its sensitive screenplay by James Ivory―and I adored it.”―Hamish Bowles, Vogue.com (Best Books We Read All Year)
“Superb…The beauty of Aciman’s writing and the purity of his passions should place this extraordinary first novel within the canon of great romantic love stories for everyone.”―Charles Kaiser, The Washington Post Book World
“An extraordinary examination of longing and the complicated ways in which we negotiate the experience of attraction….It’s startling that a novel so bracingly unsentimental―alert to the ways we manipulate, second-guess, forestall, and finally reach stumblingly toward one another―concludes with such emotional depths.”―Mark Doty, O, The Oprah Magazine
“This novel is hot…a love letter, an invocation, and something of an epitaph….An exceptionally beautiful book.”―Stacey D’Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review
“If you are prepared to take a hard punch in your gut, and like brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane, and beautiful prose, then you’ve come to the right place.”―Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love
“A great love story…every phrase, every ache, every giddy rush of sensation in this beautiful novel rings true.”―Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
“The novel is richly, sensuously detailed…luminous….Aciman deftly charts a burgeoning relationship that both parties want and fear.”―Karen Campbell, The Boston Globe
About the Author
André Aciman is the author of Eight White Nights, Out of Egypt, False Papers, Alibis, and Harvard Square, and the editor of The Proust Project (all published by FSG). He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and lives with his wife in Manhattan.
Top customer reviews
At a time when it appears as though most gay fiction getting published centers around Harlequin-like romances or other popular genre or appears to be meant mainly for titillation, André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name (2007; 248 pp.) is both a notable exception and a true artistic accomplishment. The novel can be considered a coming-of-age story (a dangerously over-used subgenre in the wrong hands) as well as a love story. Set in 1988 and on the Italian Riviera, which adds to the charm and appeal of the novel, Call Me By Your Name is narrated by and tells the story of a seventeen-year-old American-Italian-Jewish youth, Elio Perlman, and his six-week, summer love affair with Oliver Ulliva, a university professor who is seven years older than Elio and who has been selected to live in Elio’s parents’ home as a guest “resident” while finishing a manuscript for publication as part of the parents’ way of aiding budding writers.
Much of the first half of Call Me By Your Name has a “stream of consciousness” feeling to it as Elio, a very precocious and intelligent but shy young man, defies his better intuitions and finds himself more and more attracted to Oliver. Oliver, in turn, appears aloof, enigmatic, or simply unresponsive to the younger man’s growingly obvious infatuation. Aciman beautifully captures the multiple emotions: doubts, worries, hopes, and despair of an apparently one-sided attraction and romance to which any reader, regardless of their sexual orientation, most likely will be able to relate. Elio’s situation and Aicman’s characters and dialogue are all very true to life. Aicman’s references to the Italian setting, its culture, and historic figures (especially artists) add color to his tale without becoming a distraction or principal focus.
By time both Elio and the reader are aware of Oliver’s true feelings toward the younger man, a new sense of urgency, an even greater feeling of sensuality and eroticism, and a more intense atmosphere of anxiety and impending doom enters the story—all of it exquisitely captured by Aciman’s exquisitely accomplished writing.
The minor characters in Call Me by Your Name are portrayed as lovingly and precisely as the two leads. Elio’s father and a younger female friend who is dying of leukemia, in particular, are given scenes of appealing tenderness and geniality. Both are people readers would like to know and embrace. Call Me By Your Name is filled with psychological insight, beauty, realism, poignancy, melancholy, regret, smiles, wonder, joy and celebration, and pathos. If it is possible for a novel to contain a genuine reflection of what it is like to be a human being, Call Me by Your Name is that novel.
The conclusion of Oliver’s six weeks with Elio and his family and the circle of friends he makes while in Italy before returning to the United States ends the way readers know it must, but it is not the conclusion of the novel. In the final chapter entitled “Ghost Spots,” Aciman benevolently gives readers further, later scenes depicting the lives of both Elio and Oliver. The scenes are like the rest of the novel: authentic and discerning with memories both sad and joyous while tinged with an aching, unforgettable bitter sweetness. Upon finishing the novel one can only conclude that Call Me By Your Name is a modern classic.
Admittedly, this book starts out almost painfully slow, with a lead-up to the romance that’s near torturous when accompanied by the main character and narrator’s obsessive thoughts, with the only thing keeping the reader engaged the dangling promise that these two idiots will, eventually, get together. But once it gets going, oh boy does it get going.
Let me preface my praises of this book by saying that I had a difficult, love-hate relationship with Elio (protagonist and narrator). His obsessive reading, re-reading, over-reading, over-re-reading into every little look, word, silence, and lack of look, borders on the hysterical if not out-right insane and nearly drives this book’s readers (or me, at least) insane right along with him. Not to mention that it nearly breaks the taut string suspending the reader’s disbelief because honestly, what teenage even speaks let alone THINKS like this? But after reaching the second act, it’s quite clear that this obsessiveness is what has isolated him from his peers and why he searches to be so completely understood by someone like Oliver, who speaks his same coded language of gestures and unspoken words – even though they’re often not on the same wave length.
Elio’s fevered imaginings also make him an almost delightfully unreliable narrator, where something he narrates early on as fact (e.g. the cold, death-glares he’d receive from Oliver) turn out to be misguided by his prejudices and not true at all. It lends a tender, nostalgic quality to the whole thing (which is already close to bursting with nostalgia), knowing that all the events are not as they were but merely as he remembers them.
I came to realize that the story was painful to read because it was a painfully exact replica of what it is to be a teenager, and not because it was poorly written or ill-conceived. It intentionally takes its readers back to a time when your insides were on your outsides, all your feelings exposed, leaving you raw and vulnerable, so that every glance, every snide remark, especially from the person you’re infatuated with, is like hot knives on your bare flesh. The reason I was so infuriated with Elio was because I was infuriated with myself, when I was a teenager, and felt and behaved the exact same way. Elio, despite his staggering intellect for a seventeen-year-old, is a profound idiot just like I was a profound idiot.
The meat of the story is the romance between our leads, slow and painful in its engineering (like a roller-coaster going up), terrifying, rocketing, elating, wonderful when it’s happening (the roller-coaster plummeting), that leaves you aching, dizzy, and nauseous in its denouement (the end of the ride). You spend so much time worshiping Oliver through Elio’s eyes that when he turns out to be the coward, you refuse to believe it, until you’re dragged unwillingly to the book’s end are slapped in the face with the reality that yes, Oliver was the coward all along.
This is probably one of the most erotic reads of the 21st century, thanks in no small part to the breathless suspense leading up to their first encounter together, but also because the author understands how sensuality is enhanced by disgust. Even though the book sometimes crosses the thin line between sexy gross and full blown gross-out (by the end of the book ALL of the bodily fluids have been prominently featured), it leaves the burning, frenzied sensuality at its core stronger for it.
I am confident that the movie adaptation (which I’ll be watching soon) will be a perfect companion to this book, as it likely won’t suffer from the book’s flaws, such as being overly verbose, and its slow pacing on screen will probably feel more like sexual tension than having your nails being summarily torn from your fingers. Nonetheless, the novel contains some of the most stellar, quotable lines you’ll ever encounter, and such gut-wrenching realism surrounding its heartbreak that you’ll feel it as a hot knife across your raw skin.
If I could say one thing to this novel it would be: I’ll die if you stop.
I have to preface this review by saying that I am someone who reads frequently and has ordered many, many books on Amazon. However, I have never, until now, felt compelled to review a book.
“Call Me by Your Name” is a fantastically complex love story. I’vd never read such a pure, real romance featuring two men that does justice to the myriad of emotions that comes with any love affair, but especially one’s first “forbidden” love. I think any person who gives it a try will appreciate this story, but it was especially poignant for me as a gay man.
I could not put the book down and finished it in just two days. During this time I felt emotions ranging from excitement to genuine heartache. I think this story will stay with me for a long time. I plan to recommend it to many.
I could critique a few small things, but they pale in comparison to all the wonderful aspects of this story.