One of the things that I love about where I work, though sadly only for another month or so, is that the team I am on all love books. They are very much into not only sharing their books (I have a lovely pile of doubled copies for them) they also love to talk about books. So when one of them asked me if I had read ‘Call Me By Your Name’ by Andre Aciman and raved about it as one of the ‘most beautifully written books I have ever read but also one of the most graphically shocking’ I whizzed it up my TBR. Atlantic Books had actually sent me this a while ago and I hadn’t gotten round to reading it, this of course has changed.
Told by Elio, the son of an academic in the 1980’s in the Italian Riviera, this is a tale of love that shouldn’t be and obsession. When Elio’s father takes on a house guest and ‘summer helper’ seventeen year old Elio falls head over heels in love. However his father’s house guest is Oliver, a dark moody and secretive character who seems only to despise Elio. There is also the fact that Oliver is a man and therefore the attraction that Elio feels shouldn’t really be.
It’s very difficult to say more without giving the plot away, I shall say that what follows is a tale of fascination and desire that threatens to overwhelm them both and take them on a journey that will change their lives forever. Aciman holds you in suspense as to what might happen for pages and pages and the prose is utterly taught and utterly beautiful. I don’t think that I have read such beautifully written and composed prose in a very, very long time.
Though in some ways it discusses the confused emotions of Elio, and in some ways second hand from Oliver’s perspective, over and over again it never feels repetitive even as Elio obsesses for almost 150 pages and nothing really happens you are still riveted by it. When something does happen between the lovers it is quite graphic and quite intense and definitely not for the faint hearted or those of you who may be of a delicate or slightly prudish disposition. Though actually I hope in this day and age there aren’t many of those readers out there. Read it for the prose and the love story.
Also read it for the ending as not only is it not what you expect at all, I can imagine a film of this must be in the making at the moment as I would imagine there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. There is also one scene between Elio and his father which has touched me more than anything I have read in months and months, possibly even this year.
I don’t often demand that people read a book this is one book that I urge people to read. I honestly haven’t read anything so taught with emotions and complex feelings in a long, long time and that from me is seriously saying something. I know my review didn’t give very much away as to how the book unfolds or what happens but to tell you that would mean you didn’t have to read it and you do. The blurb says that ‘the six weeks together will prove to be an experience that will mark them both for a lifetime’ and I think the same could be said for anyone who has read this book.
This weeks Booking Through Thursday is all about your TBR. The question is “Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?” Now if you go to my post from last weeks BTT post then you will see the state of my Great Unread and that is pretty much how I have my TBR in general. Though there is a system to it, as you will see, which are on one side…
- Biographies & Autobiographies
- Big Books
- Short Books
And the other side…
- Man Booker Winners Unread
- Latest Publishers Paperbacks
- Latest Publishers Hardbacks
It does look a little bit like the book section of a charity shop from those pictures which has made me giggle. The rest of my 900+ TBR are all in boxes hidden away. None of my TBR ever ends up on any of my shelves in the lounge, I only have the books that I actually have read, finished and liked. I am actually going to be routing through my ‘already read’ shelves and slim lining them over the weekend.
What has just added a new joy to my life is bedside cabinets. I now have space, finally, too put the books I intend to read next (I say intend as something on one of the many shelves can call me at any moment instead) these are:
- Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman ( which I am reading now)
- Ulysses – James Joyce (which I am very slowly reading now)
- The Gathering – Anne Enright
- Ask Alice – D. J. Taylor
- The Glassblowers – Daphne Du Maurier
There will be more on Ulysses a little later on today as its Camp One with Team Ulysses over at Dovegreyreader. Back to the TBR though, how is yours arranged and what are your top 5 next TBR books?
So I am off ‘oop north’ for a weekend and this of course means that myself and The Converted One have got some quite long train journeys each way and of course this means that we need something to read. Yes, you have noticed it is we now not me. Book sharing thats a whole can of worms that I have opened for myself unwittingly… does anyone else do this? I am finding it hard to share after such a long time of having all of my books to myself. I don’t think that The Converted One has started planning a blog yet though. Anyway the books that ‘we’ have decided to take are…
Only taking the three... quite restrained for me!
The Gathering – Anne Enright “The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan gather in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother Liam. It wasn’t the drink that killed him – although that certainly helped – it was what happened to him as a boy in his grandmother’s house, in the winter of 1968. “The Gathering” is a novel about love and disappointment, about thwarted lust and limitless desire, and how our fate is written in the body, not in the stars.” After receiving this in the new series of Man Booker winners by Vintage I have been told several times that this is one of the harder Man Booker Winners, so I am going to give this challenge a go.
Ask Alice – D. J. Taylor “In 1904, a pretty young woman travels apprehensively across the American prairies; on a whim she makes a bold decision, grabbing her future with both hands. A lonely little boy, growing up a world away between-stairs in an Edwardian country house, has his future decided for him by impending war and an old woman who parcels him off to her eccentric brother in the flatlands of Norfolk. Later, in the brightly coloured world of late 1920s London high life, Alice Keach is queen among society hostesses. Behind her lie a marriage to a wealthy landowner, and a career as a celebrated actress. But Alice has a secret, whose roots run five thousand miles away to that Kansas train-ride, and a chain of connection with the potential to blow her comfortable existence apart. A half-hearted blackmailer making his way across the Atlantic; a watchful teenage boy observing the birth of a lucrative new colour in a Norfolk pigpen; a bright young woman coming to terms with an unsatisfactory marriage; a country house party that ends in tragedy; and, a sensational murder trial – all these are gathered up in the story of Alice’s rise and fall. Ranging from the Dakota badlands to the drawing rooms of Mayfair, and from the Norfolk back lanes to the casting couches of the Edwardian theatre, “Ask Alice” is a remarkable novel that confirms D.J. Taylor as a novelist of scope, imagination and great writing.” Another book that has been on my TBR for quite a while and I have been meaning to read. I am also going to stay with my Aunty Alice so I thought this was quite apt and a possible conversational piece.
Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman “Call Me By Your Name” is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest Oliver during a restless summer on the Italian Riviera. Unrelenting currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire threaten to overwhelm the lovers who at first feign indifference to the charge between them. What grows from the depths of their souls is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration, and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing they both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.The psychological manoeuvres that accompany attraction have seldom been more shrewdly captured than in Andre Aciman’s frank and unsentimental elegy to human passion. “Call Me By Your Name” is clear-eyed, bare-knuckled and ultimately unforgettable.” Sounds quite different and Atlantic Books sent me this quite a while ago and when sorting my shelving out I rediscovered it and felt a bit ashamed I have left this for so long and wanted to read it too.
So let’s see how I get on with them, mind you we are going up to look after two ten month old twin girls so reading might not be on the best weekend for reading, we shall see. What reading do you have planned this weekend?