Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author of the celebrated memoir Out of Egypt, Aciman offers a debut novel about a brief but transformative summer affair between a teenager and a visitor at his parents' Italian villa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

As this novel opens, 17-year-old Elio is embarking on another relaxed summer of fun and sunshine with his family at their Italian villa by the sea. Each summer, Elio's professor father invites a different guest to stay with them, giving young scholars time to work on their writing and converse with the stream of intellectuals who congregate at the villa. What transpires when Oliver arrives is an unexpected and agonizing flirtation and affair, with great highs and lows. Elio's and Oliver's interactions range from frosty to torrid as they face uncertainty about their own identities, come to terms with their feelings for each other, and, ultimately, decide to take a risk on this relationship. In his first work of fiction, Aciman (Out of Egypt) describes Elio's anxiety, uncertainty, awkwardness, and, later, passion in incredibly vivid detail, leaving no thought process unexplored. The strong bond between the two characters is reminiscent of the bond between Ennis and Jack in Brokeback Mountain, where each finds in the other the one true love of his life. Recommended for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/06.]-Sarah Conrad Weisman, Corning Community Coll., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Egyptian-born Aciman is the author of the acclaimed memoir Out of Egypt and of the essay collection False Papers. His first novel poignantly probes a boy's erotic coming-of-age at his family's Italian Mediterranean home. Elio 17, extremely well-read, sensitive and the son of a prominent expatriate professor finds himself troublingly attracted to this year's visiting resident scholar, recruited by his father from an American university. Oliver is 24, breezy and spontaneous, and at work on a book about Heraclitus. The young men loll about in bathing suits, play tennis, jog along the Italian Riviera and flirt. Both also flirt (and more) with women among their circle of friends, but Elio, who narrates, yearns for Oliver. Their shared literary interests and Jewishness help impart a sense of intimacy, and when they do consummate their passion in Oliver's room, they call each other by the other's name. A trip to Rome, sanctioned by Elio's prescient father, ushers Elio fully into first love's joy and pain, and his travails set up a well-managed look into Elio's future. Aciman overcomes an occasionally awkward structure with elegant writing in Elio's sweet and sanguine voice. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Adult/High School-Seventeen-year-old Elio faces yet another lazy summer at his parents' home on the Italian coast. As in years past, his family will host a young scholar for six weeks, someone to help Elio's father with his research. Oliver, the handsome American visitor, charms everyone he meets with his cavalier manner. Elio's narrative dwells on the minutiae of his meandering thoughts and growing desire for Oliver. What begins as a casual friendship develops into a passionate yet clandestine affair, and the last chapters fast-forward through Elio's life to a reunion with Oliver decades later. Elio recalls the events of that summer and the years that follow in a voice that is by turns impatient and tender. He expresses his feelings with utter candor, sharing with readers his most private hopes, urges, and insecurities. The intimacy Elio experiences with Oliver is unparalleled and awakens in the protagonist an intensity that dances on the brink of obsession. Although their contact in the ensuing years is limited to the occasional phone call or postcard, Elio continues to harbor an insatiable desire for Oliver. His longing creates a tension that is present from the first sentence to the last.-Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This first novel is a meditation on sexual longing as well as an exploration of the selfishness that such longing engenders. The author's beautiful articulation of the thrill and dismay of unspoken desire underscores the misunderstandings inherent in such a state. A first novel is usually judged by its sophistication level: by how much or how little the author sounds like a beginner. Aciman's debut is nimble, poised, perceptive, and intelligent. Its emphasis on psychology over plot does not leave it lacking in drive and movement. The novel depicts a male teenager who, although practiced in having to accept his parents' summer guests at their Italian seaside villa, is slammed by an unexpected provocation when, in the summer of his seventeenth year, a male graduate student arrives, and his obvious intelligence and charm are matched by an undisguised sexiness. What is disguised, at least initially, is the attraction the boy and the graduate student feel for each other. Once the games are stopped, however, and once their mutual desire is acknowledged, a torrid summer ensues--one that will live in the teenager's memory forever. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2006 Booklist