Call Me By Your Name reminded me of a postcard. Not that I have received many postcards in my time, but it had a intoxicating blend of nostalgia, innocence, and desire. I have to confess that my motivation to read this book is because of how compelling I found the film.

I love how Aciman plays with memory. There are times when I had to re-read passages to double check whether or not the scene actually occurred or if it was a manifestation of Elio’s anxiety and pessimism. It is in that way it resembled a postcard or a letter, something you receive from a penpal you can confide everything with on the other side of the world. As a result, it felt like I was reading someone’s personal diary. Questions and doubts over whether I should even be allowed to continue reading surfaced across multiple junctures. It is a testament to Aciman’s intense, sometimes whimsical, and always lyrical writing style.

While the story of Elio & Oliver take centre-stage, I found myself falling in love with B. and the lifestyle of its keepers. Perhaps it is due to the stunning cinematography and music of the film, but I felt like I was there in B. reading through Elio’s scrambled thoughts and anxiety. The view from the balcony, the pool, the long summer days playing tennis or going down to the lake. It is so far removed from my day-to-day and I could not help but to daydream. In fact, my fondest memory is reading this book during those long sunny afternoons, looking out the window and see a barrage of green, trees, grass, hedges, plants – I felt like I was almost there.

Verdict

Recommended. Call Me By Your Name gave me a pseudo-impression of what it might be like to have a penpal with whom you can share everything with. It is an intensely vulnerable account of first love, one that does not fail to keep you mesmerised.


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