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Michael Flores
Michael Flores

Call Me By Your Name: A Novel that Transports You to a Summer in Italy

Call Me By Your Name: A Book Summary

Call Me By Your Name is a novel by André Aciman that tells the story of a passionate romance between a young Italian boy and an older American man in the summer of 1987. The novel is a masterpiece of literary fiction that explores themes such as love, memory, identity, and time with exquisite prose and emotional depth. The novel was published in 2007 and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction in 2008. It was also adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2017, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.

Call Me By My Name Book Summary performant oliver ca

The Setting and the Characters

The Italian Riviera

The novel is set in a villa on the Italian Riviera, a coastal region in northwestern Italy that is known for its beauty and charm. The villa belongs to Elio's family, who spend their summers there hosting guests from around the world. The villa is surrounded by lush gardens, fruit trees, and a swimming pool. It is also close to a small town where Elio and Oliver go for walks, bike rides, cafes, and parties. The setting provides a backdrop for Elio and Oliver's romance, as they enjoy the sun, the sea, and each other's company.

Elio Perlman

Elio is the narrator and protagonist of the novel. He is a 17-year-old boy who lives in Italy with his parents, who are both academics. Elio is precocious, intelligent, sensitive, and curious. He loves reading, playing music, and learning languages. He is also Jewish, but not very religious or observant. He has never been in love before he meets Oliver, but he feels an immediate attraction to him that grows into an obsession. He struggles with his feelings for Oliver, as he is unsure about his sexuality and his identity. He also fears rejection and loss.


Oliver is a 24-year-old American scholar who comes to stay at Elio's villa for six weeks as part of a fellowship program. He is working on his manuscript about the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. Oliver is handsome, confident, charismatic, and friendly. He is also Jewish, but more open and proud about it than Elio. He is popular with the locals and the guests, but he also has a mysterious and aloof side. He is attracted to Elio, but he is cautious and respectful of their age difference and their situation. He also has a girlfriend in America, whom he plans to marry.

The Plot Summary

Part One: If Not Later, When?

The first part of the novel covers the first three weeks of Oliver's stay at the villa. Elio and Oliver meet and develop a mutual attraction that they try to hide from each other and from others. Elio is fascinated by Oliver's personality, habits, and body. He watches him, follows him, and fantasizes about him. He also tries to impress him with his intelligence and culture. Oliver is friendly and polite with Elio, but he also teases him and challenges him. He also shows signs of interest in Elio, such as touching him, complimenting him, and inviting him to join him in his activities. However, he also confuses Elio with his mixed signals, such as dating a local girl named Chiara, ignoring Elio for days, and saying "later" whenever Elio tries to talk to him.

One night, after a party at the villa, Elio confesses his feelings to Oliver in his room. Oliver kisses him and tells him that he has wanted him since the first day they met. However, he also tells him that they should not act on their feelings, as it would be wrong and dangerous. He asks Elio to be patient and wait for the right moment. Elio agrees, but he is frustrated and impatient. He wants Oliver to make the first move and to show him more affection.

Part Two: Monet's Berm

The second part of the novel covers the fourth week of Oliver's stay at the villa. Elio and Oliver finally consummate their relationship and spend a few days together in Rome. After a tense period of waiting and avoiding each other, Elio and Oliver decide to go on a trip to Bergamo, a nearby city where they can be alone and free. They spend three days in a hotel room, making love, talking, and cuddling. They also visit a bookstore where they find a postcard of Monet's painting of a berm, which becomes a symbol of their relationship.

They then go to Rome, where they join Elio's father's friend, an older gay man named Anchise, who introduces them to his circle of friends. They attend a party at Anchise's house, where they meet other gay men who are open and happy about their sexuality. They also meet a young couple who are dying of AIDS, which shocks and saddens them. They realize that their time together is running out and that they have to say goodbye soon.

Part Three: Ghost Spots

The third part of the novel covers the next 20 years of Elio and Oliver's lives after they part ways. Elio and Oliver say goodbye at the train station in Bergamo, where they exchange their last words: "Call me by your name and I'll call you by mine". They promise to keep in touch, but they don't. Elio returns to the villa with his parents, where he suffers from depression and loneliness. He tries to forget Oliver by dating other people, but he never stops loving him.

Over the years, Elio and Oliver have occasional contacts through phone calls or letters, but they never see each other again. They both move on with their lives: Elio becomes a pianist and travels around the world; Oliver becomes a professor and marries a woman with whom he has two sons. They both have affairs with other men, but they never find anyone who can replace their first love.

The novel ends with Elio visiting Oliver in New England 20 years after their summer together. They reconnect and reminisce about their past. They realize that they still love each other and that they have never forgotten their names.

The Analysis

The Themes

The novel explores several themes that are relevant to human experience, such as love, memory, identity, and time.

The Analysis

The Themes

The novel explores several themes that are relevant to human experience, such as love, memory, identity, and time.