With the Oscars looming, many fear that the twin powers of Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks will eclipse Luca Guadagnino’s Italian Romance, ‘Call Me By Your Name’. Based on the novel by American author Andre Aciman, the film premiered here in the UK in November and last week was nominated for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards. Before you read on – go and see it before the film closes! Or even better, find a copy of the book and get reading…
The novel follows 17 year old Elio, languishing in his Italian country house with his academic parents. Each summer, the family hosts a research student or aspiring writer and Elio falls madly in love with the burly American Harvard student, Oliver. As the summer progresses, Elio agonises over whether to declare his feelings to Oliver, uncertain of whether they will be returned. The novel received the award for Gay Fiction at the 20th Lambda Literary Awards and is widely acknowledged as a key contributor to this growing literary canon.
With the screenplay, adapted by James Ivory, also receiving a nomination, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ joins a growing list of acclaimed gay literary adaptations. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ was based on the short story of the same name by Annie Proulx and ‘Carol’ was adapted from the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. English Literature students or those interested in gender or identity theory may want to delve in to this canon. Classics such as Women in Love by D.H Laurence and also Brideshead Revisited feature themes of same-sex relationships, deftly explored.
For those wanting to read further, The New York Times has called the novel ‘a Proustian meditation on time and desire, a love letter, an invocation’ and the in-depth review can be found here. Two of our favourite Australian academics have issued a podcast discussing the novel and their reaction to the film. You can download it here. Enjoy!