“It reminded me of how he had refused to eat soft-boiled eggs in the morning. By the fourth or fifth day, Mafalda insisted he couldn’t leave the region without tasting our eggs. He finally consented, only to admit, with a touch of genuine embarrassment that he never bothered to conceal, that he didn’t know how to open a soft-boiled egg… From that morning on and well into his stay with us, she would bring Oliver two eggs and stop serving everyone until she had sliced open the shell of both his eggs. Did he perhaps want a third? Some liked more than two eggs. No, two would do, he replied, and turning to my parents, added, ‘I know myself. If I have three, I’ll have a fourth and more.” I had never heard someone his age say I know myself. It intimidated me.”
Did you really go to the beach this summer if you didn’t have Call Me By Your Name in your cotton string bag, alongside your Turkish towel and your bottle of water? At least, you certainly weren’t in my Instagram feed where everyone – myself included – was devouring this book, reclining on the sand.
Did you really go to the beach this summer if you didn’t have Call Me By Your Name in your cotton string bag, alongside your Turkish towel and your bottle of water?
Written by Andre Aciman in 2007, Call Me By Your Name follows teenaged Elio, the son of an American professor, recounting the first flushes of love with his father’s grad student Oliver. The pair fall in love over boiled eggs and river swims and, um, juicy peaches – if you know anything about the book, you know what I’m talking about – over six bittersweet weeks in Northern Italy in the ‘80s.
Part of the resurgence in popularity of this decade-old book is that on Boxing Day last year the film adaptation was released in cinemas. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, and directed by Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino, the film was lush and atmospheric, sensual and redolent with the sounds and smells and feelings of first love. But, as is so often the case with adaptations, the original book is so much better. Read it. Read it again, and then dream of your first summer romance.