Call Me by Your Name – Andre Aciman

CMBYNWell, the author is a noted essayist and a professor of comparative literature and this is first novel. I love a good, romantic story but it’s no great shakes as far as style goes, as many of our group pointed out when dismissing me as an old romantic with no taste.

The location is a romantic fiction that bears no relation to anywhere real. There’s not a lot about Jewishness so why mention it if it isn’t going to be developed? And there is no mention of AIDS despite the time when this book was written.

It’s sentimental: keepsakes. ‘We found the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.’

Oliver’s language is colloquial: ‘Later’. He enjoys his fling that doesn’t want to any more, marries, becomes a lecturer and then invites Elio to meet up as if nothing had happened.

Elio is precocious, fantasises about people a long after he’s seen them, wants Oliver so much that he muses on killing him so that he couldn’t leave. He’s got it bad; rubbed his face into his bathing trunks, leaves the bedroom door open, after their first sex he thinks that if he showers he will be a traitor.

(I got a comment from another website where I’d copied this review: Thank you. I couldn’t agree more, actually. Extremely shallow and cliché-ridden. This book reads more like a bodice ripper or Harlequin romance novel than a serious novel. The Jewish identity is thrown away–never developed in any way. Elio’s parents are more of a cipher than fully developed characters. I just don’t understand how this book won all these awards and praise.)

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