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Call Me by Your Name: A Novel Hardcover – January 23, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Egyptian-born Aciman is the author of the acclaimed memoir Out of Egypt and of the essay collection False Papers. His first novel poignantly probes a boy's erotic coming-of-age at his family's Italian Mediterranean home. Elio—17, extremely well-read, sensitive and the son of a prominent expatriate professor—finds himself troublingly attracted to this year's visiting resident scholar, recruited by his father from an American university. Oliver is 24, breezy and spontaneous, and at work on a book about Heraclitus. The young men loll about in bathing suits, play tennis, jog along the Italian Riviera and flirt. Both also flirt (and more) with women among their circle of friends, but Elio, who narrates, yearns for Oliver. Their shared literary interests and Jewishness help impart a sense of intimacy, and when they do consummate their passion in Oliver's room, they call each other by the other's name. A trip to Rome, sanctioned by Elio's prescient father, ushers Elio fully into first love's joy and pain, and his travails set up a well-managed look into Elio's future. Aciman overcomes an occasionally awkward structure with elegant writing in Elio's sweet and sanguine voice. (Feb.)
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From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Seventeen-year-old Elio faces yet another lazy summer at his parents' home on the Italian coast. As in years past, his family will host a young scholar for six weeks, someone to help Elio's father with his research. Oliver, the handsome American visitor, charms everyone he meets with his cavalier manner. Elio's narrative dwells on the minutiae of his meandering thoughts and growing desire for Oliver. What begins as a casual friendship develops into a passionate yet clandestine affair, and the last chapters fast-forward through Elio's life to a reunion with Oliver decades later. Elio recalls the events of that summer and the years that follow in a voice that is by turns impatient and tender. He expresses his feelings with utter candor, sharing with readers his most private hopes, urges, and insecurities. The intimacy Elio experiences with Oliver is unparalleled and awakens in the protagonist an intensity that dances on the brink of obsession. [...] His longing creates a tension that is present from the first sentence to the last.—Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374299218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374299217
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

André Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Republic, Condé Nast Traveler, The Paris Review, Granta as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays.

Aciman grew up in a multilingual and multinational family and attended English-language schools, first in Alexandria and later, after his family moved to Italy in 1965, in Rome. In 1968, Aciman's family moved again, this time to New York City, where he graduated in 1973 from Lehman College. Aciman received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and, after teaching at Princeton University and Bard College, is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He is currently chair of the Ph. D. Program in Comparative Literature and founder and director of The Writers' Institute at the Graduate Center. He has also taught creative writing at New York University, Cooper Union, and and Yeshiva University. In 2009, Aciman was also Visiting Distinguished Writer at Wesleyan University.

Aciman is the author of the Whiting Award-winning memoir Out of Egypt (1995), an account of his childhood as a Jew growing up in post-colonial Egypt. His books and essays have been translated in many languages. In addition to Out of Egypt (1995), Aciman has published False Papers: Essays in Exile and Memory (2001) and Alibis: Essays on Elswhere (2011), and three novels, Harvard Square (2013), Eight White Nights (2010) and Call Me By Your Name (2007), for which he won the Lambda Literary Award for Men's Fiction (2008). He also edited Letters of Transit (1999) and The Proust Project (2004) and prefaced Monsieur Proust (2003), The Light of New York (2007), Condé Nast Traveler's Room With a View (2010) and Stefan Zweig's Journey to the Past (2010).

He is currently working on a novel tentatively entitled Enigma.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 101 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Andre Aciman, a noted essayist and City University of New York professor of comparative literature, has written one of the most memorable debut novels published this year, "Call Me by Your Name", ranking alongside Eugene Drucker's "The Savior" for its emotional intensity, as well as its high literary quality. It's a truly memorable coming-of-age story about an adolescent Italian Jewish man, Elio, who learns a lot about love and total intimacy from a visiting American professor, Oliver, during a brief six week period one summer, set, sometime, in Italy, back in the 1970s or 1980s. Aciman offers us an honest, unflinching portrait of total intimacy, showing how these two men gradually move from mere friendship to an all too brief, but intense, romantic encounter, in a small town on the Italian Riviera, and then later, one night, in Rome, shortly before Oliver flies back home. It is an encounter that will truly haunt both men for the rest of their lives, as depicted in occasional scenes that jump forward to the present day. Aciman's portrait is truly compelling, and one that I found impossible to put down (No wonder why it has been considered for prominent literary awards, such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction.); Aciman is not only a fine literary stylist, but a compelling storyteller too. Without question, his fine novel deserves ample consideration, not only from those familiar with his excellent nonfiction prose, but also from others, such as yours truly, who are not fully acquainted with his work.
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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is one of those books so rich in story, in content, and in style of writing that it immediately becomes one of the great novels of the time. With this novel André Aciman steps into the rarefied air of writers such as Jamie O'Neill, Colm Toibin, Reinaldo Arenas, Constantine Cavafy, Edmund White, Michael Cunningham, and even EM Forster and Thomas Mann - a disparate group of luminaries, perhaps, but each with the ability to create an evocative, sensual love story beyond the limits of traditional tales. Though highly recommended by friends over the past year, this reader only now had the pleasure of reading this novel, and the result was to immediately read it again, so rich are the treasures this book holds.

Agreeing with other reviewers that telling too much of the plot is unfair to those who have yet to read Aciman's book, suffice it to say that CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is a meditation on the awakening of love, the myriad emotional and physical responses of the act of attraction developing into acting out and becoming an obsession, and the indelible mark that 'first love' makes on the hearts and lives of those involved.

Elio is a beautiful seventeen-year old lad, transcribing Haydn's 'The Seven Last Words of Christ' in his Mediterranean villa where his parents annually invite a young writer for a six-week residency to complete a work and assist the father in his own work. This summer the resident scholar is twenty-four-year old American scholar Oliver who is having his work on Heraclitus translated into Italian. There is an attraction between the two young men, a veiled dance of courtship, and an ultimate revelation of a profound love that becomes intensely physical as it develops from its intellectual and artistic beginnings.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Coco Pazzo on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A gay romance novel for intellectuals, Andre Aciman's debut novel is an exciting trip into precocious mind of a young teenager who falls in love with an older man. While Aciman's debt to Proust is acknowledged by the author, one can hear echoes of Edmund White, Allan Hollinghurst and even A.S. Byatt in Aciman's melancholy prose.
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read this extraordinary novel after seeing several good reviews, notably the one in the NY Times. It is a story of first love involving two men, but it can't really be classified as specialty literature. Here is a funny, harrowing, heartbreaking coming-of-age tale that everyone will instantly recognize.

A 17-year-old Italian boy discovers the joy and anguish of adult emotions one summer on the Italian Riviera. The lyrical prose, frank sexuality, and clear-eyed tone of the novel remind me of another instant classic, Francoise Sagan's BONJOUR TRISTESSE. I recently reread that personal favorite, and I had it in mind as I read this. Like Sagan, Aciman places us inside the mind of an uncannily precocious teenager, showing us everything through his eyes. His total fixation on the object of his passion--an older American post-grad scholar who's visiting for the summer--is overwhelming, and some of the scenes between the two are so intimate that reading them actually feels like an intrusion. But Aciman insists on telling the truth of every single moment of the affair, and his young hero has an unblinking gaze.

The rocky road to adulthood never changes--but every now and then we get a voice like this to tell us the story. I recommend CALL ME BY YOUR NAME to everyone who was ever 17.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Andre Aciman says more about love, passion, desire, sorrow and loss in only 248 pages in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME-- the story lives up to everything the beautiful title suggests-- than seems humanly possible. Elio, a precocious seventeen-year-old, falls hopeless, totally for Oliver, a twenty-four-year old from Columbia University who comes to stay with Elio's family for six weeks in an idyllic Italian sun-drenched summer. We see the events as they unfold through the eyes of the narrator Elio who is beautiful, bright, sexy and full of reckless abandon as only the very young can be. His and Oliver's story is universal and as old as civilization itself. None of us will ever forgot our first lover when his absence was unbearable but his presence was frightening and all-consuming.

It is impossible to do justice to this book as it is almost an extended poem. Like all poetry, it can survive dissection, but the least said about it, the better. A word to the reader, however: Beware. You will care desperately about these two men as well as other well-drawn characaters, particularly Elio's father, who is so gentle, so kind, so intuitive, such a wise parent and the tragic Vimini, who is ten years old at the beginning of the novel that covers a span of twenty years.

Mr. Aciman's beautiful prose is both poetic and profound: Words get turned around, turned in on themselves, used again in a different setting or context. Elio's quotation of Shelley's friends words, "heart of hearts," as he seized the dead poet's heart out of his body as he was being cremated, turns up again near the end of the novel as an inscription on a post card that Oliver ["'I've never said anything truer in my life to anyone'"] hopes his son will one day bring to Elio. Elio on Oliver: "You are my homecoming.
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