Call Me By Your Name

  • Review
By – January 27, 2012
It isn’t a nov­el at all, real­ly; it’s more like a sen­su­ous love song. Elio, a young man vaca­tion­ing at his par­ents’ vil­la in Italy, becomes entranced by a schol­ar, invit­ed for the sum­mer to work on a trans­la­tion of his book and to help Elio’s pro­fes­sor father with his cor­re­spon­dence. The two young men are bound by phys­i­cal attrac­tion but also by so much more: their Jew­ish­ness, their love of lit­er­a­ture and their com­ple­men­tary lives-of-the-mind. They have amorous adven­tures with women, as well, but the yearn­ing and long­ing for one anoth­er and the ulti­mate erot­ic con­sum­ma­tion trans­form each for­ev­er. The author’s extra­or­di­nary use of lan­guage evokes long, lux­u­ri­ous sun-drenched days by the sea, first love, deep inti­ma­cy, and the forever­ness of youth. The whole piece, read start to fin­ish (and it’s hard to put down once begun) flows and ebbs, wax­es and wanes like life and love and end­less sum­mer days.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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