Call Me by Your Name
by André Aciman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I actually prefer the movie. James Ivory did an incredible job of turning this story into a different, even better story. One marvels at how he sometimes turned a few sentences into rich scenes.
This novel is enjoyably erotic and there are layers of complexity in Elio not present in the movie. I enjoyed some of that in the first two, lusty, sections. And I enjoyed that Oliver was a richer character than in the film. But I didn't care for some of Elio's back and forth that were dispensed with for the film, particularly his regret after the first time they have sex. Also the supporting characters are more richly drawn in the film.
One thing I'm curious about is the change of setting from the coast in the novel to the countryside in the movie. And from Rome to a smaller town for the final trip.
One good comment I read about the film in a review was that there was no attempt to deal with orientation or coming out, it was just a love story. But those elements are in the novel, and I wished they hadn't been. Though they are more realistic. It made me realize how much the film is a fairy tale.
I really didn't like the third section when they take their trip. In the novel it is to Rome and they spend all this time at a party with sophisticated people and I kept rushing through that section trying to get to one-on-one time that was missing.
And in the fourth section I missed the emotion of the film. And the scenes from 15 and 20 years later hold some interest but I'm glad the filmmakers thought them unnecessary (I really don't want them to turn it into a trilogy as they have discussed).
But the final paragraph is superb.
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