A novel as magnificent and gripping as this gets published only once in a blue moon.
This novel will grip your mind at the very beginning, and the witty, charming voice of its narrator, seventeen years old Elio, will lead you through the wondrous tunnel of human emotions such as desire, passion and lust, in search of the elusive and slippery love.
The story is about young Elio’s intense infatuation with the handsome American, twenty-four years old Oliver, a post-doctoral scholar and author, who comes as a house guest to stay at Elio’s villa in the Italian Riviera for six weeks. Elio is well-read and talented; he can sing, and play guitar and piano too. Both men like to jog and love to swim; and they flirt on the beach and indulge in witty dialogue. The author, Andre Acimen succeeds in creating an illusion that the two young men make a perfect pair – a match made in heaven. But nothing in this world is perfect, of course. And there lies the tension, and the aches and pains a reader feels while reading this novel.
If you ever had crush on someone when you were a teenager, reading this novel will bring out the long dormant memories to the surface, and you will feel the sweet aches again, like new. You will be astonished to find yourself reading some passages again and again to marvel at the glittering prose, at sentences as elegant as this: “I liked it when our feet were aligned, left with left, and struck the ground at the same time, leaving footprints on the shore that I wished to return to and, in secret, place my foot where his had left its mark.”
If you are young at heart, you will easily empathize with Elio and feel all his emotions; and if you are old at heart, and thought your heart petrified so long ago that it was incapable of feeling desire, passion, lust and love, you will be utterly astonished to hear your heart begin to sing a few notes again. And you most certainly will witness the alchemy of Andre Aciman’s poetic prose slowly transmuting the baser emotions of passion and lust into precious love.