Thursday, September 20, 2007

Call Me by Your Name

You know how some books/stories have titles that are kind of buried in the middle somewhere and when you finally get to it you're like "ahh, there it is. I get it"?

This book does that but it also does something reminiscent of the short-story genre, something I think is great when it's well done but is becoming more and more rare. In fact, I can't remember when the last time was that I saw it: the last words in the book are the title, again.

Here is the funny sidestory to this book: I knew very little about it, a glowing review on the Amazon Book Blog got me pointed in its direction (from the AMZ Blog: it may be the best account I've ever read of what it's like to want someone--especially when that someone may or may not want you back.) and I decided I would give it a shot. The author sounded vaguely familiar but the book itself wasn't on any best-selling lists and wasn't receiving any hype. So it was a shot in the dark. An underdog.

I went to the library to find it and, knowing it was a novel, looked under fiction. Not there. So I went and asked at the front desk.

"Oh, you want to go to our Gay and Lesbian section," and she walked me there.

"Heh, I guess that's what happens when you don't know what the book is about."

She wasn't buying it. It felt strange checking out a book from the Gay and Lesbian collection. Before that I was under the impression I was simply reading a potentially very good novel.

No worries, because that's exactly what I got.

The book centers around a 17-year-old kid at his parents' summer home in Italy. He falls in love with one of the boarders, a 24-year-old American professor working on his manuscript.

It felt like the reading was going very slow at the beginning, and that's because the writing is so enjoyable I was really taking my time going through it all. It's the best writing I've encountered so far this year.

The book made me reflect on memories of my own childhood/adolescence and the way looking back on them can be so enjoyable and mournful.

I'm realizing now that I'm not in the mood to review this book right now, so I'll stop and maybe come back to it. I just finished it yesterday and I'm still kind of digesting the thing.

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