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Call Me by Your Name

A Novel

André Aciman


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ISBN10: 031242678X
ISBN13: 9780312426781

Trade Paperback

256 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year
A Seattle Times Favorite Book of the Year
Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Men's Fiction

Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

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 is a romance of scarcely six weeks' duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. What the two discover on the Riviera and during an evening together in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.


Praise for Call Me by Your Name

"Aciman, who has written a great deal about Proust, has an ability to make the finest, the tiniest, and most convincing distinctions between moods, responses, and registers. Everything is watched as it shifts and glitters and then hesitates and maybe is shadowed over . . . This really is fiction at its most supremely interesting; every clause and subclause shimmers with a densely observed and carefully rendered invention which seems oddly and delightfully precise and convincing . . . There are many layers and levels in this story, but the dominate one is the simple love story in high summer between the young man and the visitor to the house."—Colm Tóibín, The New York Review of Books

"If you have ever been the willing victim of obsessive love—a force greater than yourself that pulls you inextricably toward the object of your desire—you will recognize every nuance of André Aciman's superb new novel, Call Me by Your Name . . . The book is explicit without ever being prurient, and the feelings that narrator describes are both homoerotic and universal . . . Almost 60 years ago, Gore Vidal published The City and the Pillar. Although Vidal has always eschewed the word, the novel's characters advanced the argument that 'gay' describes an act rather than a person. The protagonists of Aciman's novel do that more convincingly that anyone Vidal ever created. 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

"A coming-of-age story, coming-out story, a Proustian meditation on time and desire, a love letter, an invocation and something of an epitaph, Call Me by Your Name is also an open question. It is an exceptionally beautiful book that cannot quite bring itself to draw the inevitable conclusion about axis-shifting passion that men and women of the world might like to think they will always reach—that that obscure object of desire is, by definition, ungraspable, indeterminate and already lost at exactly the moment you rush so fervently to hold him or her . . . Aciman, who has written so exquisitely about exile, loss and Proust in his book of essays, False Papers, and his memoir, Out of Egypt, is no less exquisite here."—Stacey D'Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review

"Aciman's first novel shows him to be an acute grammarian of desire. When Oliver, a handsome young American philosopher, arrives in a seaside town in Italy . . . the son of the house, Elio—seventeen, studious, moody, and ravenous—falls for him. Elio's edgy rapture as he forms himself in relation to another plays out against the background of a scorching Mediterranean summer, and Aciman introduces a small universe of characters who are themselves altered by the charged air that surrounds the lovers: Elio's mother, who calls Oliver il cauboi (the cowboy); his generous, hazy father; and the household's cantankerous cook, who every morning carefully cracks open the American's soft-boiled eggs."—The New Yorker

"In Call Me by Your Name, the debut novel by memoirist André Aciman, the reader follows Elio through every kaleidoscope turn of his senses and change of erotic direction. Aciman's prose is alive to each spiral and retraction of feeling, to every signal sent out and withdrawn . . . It's a great love story, whether you're gay or straight."—Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times

"Gorgeously written, it is a powerful blend of the erotic and intellectual . . . Aciman's story, affecting but never melodramatic, breathes in the real world."—Mark Athitakis, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"Call Me by Your Name is a . . . wise book, written with both lightness and concentrated care for the precise truth of every moment in its drama."—Colm Toíbín, author of The Master

"Beautifully rendered, evocative, and sexually charged, Call Me by Your Name is the Egyptian-born, Sephardic Jew André Aciman's first novel. His previous two books, the essay collection False Papers and his memoir Out of Egypt, focused on memory and exile. Here—to critical acclaim—he explores a love affair between an adolescent and a young, seductive man. Critics universally praised Aciman's bold account of obsession and lust and his elegant, sensuous prose. Like few other writers, Aciman evokes a time and place exquisitely—the sunny Italian countryside with its summer heat, the pungent blooms, the sprawling vistas."—Bookmarks Magazine

"A meditation on sexual longing as well as an exploration of the selfishness that such longing engenders. The author's beautiful articulation of the thrill and dismay of unspoken desire underscores the misunderstandings inherent in such a state . . . Aciman's debut is nimble, poised, perceptive, and intelligent. Its emphasis on psychology over plot does not leave it lacking in drive and movement. The novel depicts a male teenager who, although practiced in having to accept his parents' summer guests at their Italian seaside villa, is slammed by an unexpected provocation when . . . a male graduate student arrives, and his obvious intelligence and charm are matched by an undisguised sexiness. What is disguised, at least initially, is the attraction the boy and the graduate student feel for each other."—Brad Hooper, Booklist

"Elio's and Oliver's interactions range from frosty to torrid as they face uncertainty about their own identities, come to terms with their feelings for each other, and, ultimately, decide to take a risk on this relationship. In his first work of fiction, Aciman (Out of Egypt) describes Elio's anxiety, uncertainty, awkwardness, and, later, passion in incredibly vivid detail, leaving no thought process unexplored. The strong bond between the two characters is reminiscent of the bond between Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain, where each finds in the other the one true love of his life."—Sarah Conrad Weisman, Corning Community College, New York, Library Journal

"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. Although their contact in the ensuing years is limited to the occasional phone call or postcard, Elio continues to harbor an insatiable desire for Oliver. His longing creates a tension that is present from the first sentence to the last."—Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, California, School Library Journal

"Aciman join[s] young love to his familiar themes of dislocation and wandering . . . Oliver . . . looks cruelly at the world, a 'cold, sagacious judge of character and situations' . . . everyone, male and female, falls in love with [Oliver]: Elio's professor father . . . has appreciation for the younger man's fearlessness in arguing over philosophy and etymology, the young village girls for his muvi star affectations, older women for his cowboy manners . . . though Oliver has his dangerous side, Aciman never quite dispenses with innocence; Elio's love has a certain chaste quality to it ('I was Glaucus and he was Diomedes'), which doesn't lessen the hurt when the whole thing unravels, at which point intellectual gamesmanship fades away and the wisest man in the book is revealed to be Elio's gently thoughtful father, who has unsuspected depths and offers consolation as best he can: 'Right now there's sorrow. I don't envy you the pain. But I envy you the pain.'"—Kirkus Reviews

"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 . . . 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 . . . with elegant writing in Elio's sweet and sanguine voice."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

André Aciman

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.

Sigrid Estrada

André Aciman

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