I have read many good books this year and even more in years before. But a book like Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman comes every five to ten years into your hands, if you are lucky to find it.
This book ravished my heart. It left me emotionally unstable. It's all I need to say. And then...
Not because it is appropriate, the silence, or because I don't have words in my fingers or little things, impressions and details in my mind I like, love and want to share with others, hoping someone appreciates them and approves of them worthy of the book I've read. The echoes of the summer still linger in my tissues, my bones, resounding with the thunder of the sea that spits its waves on the shores of one infatuated love when a teenage boy craves for a young man who willingly obliges.
They know they love on borrowed time and that the salty taste of summer won't last longer than the dried sweat on their skin. They know erotic moments of their feet touching in secrecy under the table won't have to be masked much longer by feigned ignorance in the presence of others. All these misunderstood and misinterpreted touches, expressions, actions and echoes of other's words will remain sealed between the walls of a bedroom as the countdown of the remaining days ticks away.
Yet, they embrace each other. With the force and the passion and the pleasure of a sunny moment in time, sufficient to create a new heaven and a new earth. In the blink of two hearts they are created when they call each other by their name; in the heat of a Roman night it will flutter away from existence as they enjoy each other and share a bed for the last time.
Elio and Oliver.
Transformed by a short romance which conceives their first glances with feigned indifference only to mature into a life-changing experience which will define them as a new person, as one, as they redefine one another. It is a new life, a new era, and everything else is measured and remembered as before and after Elio and Oliver time.
True happiness rarely comes without great sacrifices. Elio and Oliver know that while they gamble their love on the Italian Riviera with the high stake of spending their remaining lives with other people instead of being together. Rehearsing pain of departure and life of separation so it will hurt less later! is only effective until it threatens to disperse their love into tomorrow twenty years later devoid of romantic or any other memories.
With Call Me By Your Name André Aciman gave humankind a beautiful book of love that ought to be studied in schools. Yet who is competent enough to analyze the love that impregnates your veins with the boiling blood if they didn't scald their own insides with such tormenting heat first? Who is to judge the poetry and lyricism of painfully carved sentences which provoke us to admit that there is a perfection after all?
This brutally realistic love story is more convincing than some real-life true stories we may read, for it carries the weight of something magical, deep and personal, something buried, excavated and buried again under the layers of exquisite storytelling.
We all live on borrowed time and it would be such a shame to walk to the end of our lives without stopping for a few hours, or days, and dedicate them to this story. Even worse would it be not to learn something from it and fail to find someone willing, ready and glad to call us by their name. At least for one summer if not for the lifetime.
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