the 'call me by your name' author made a first love reading list
They include novels like 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Romeo and Juliet.'
The Call Me By Your Name novel is one of the most powerful love stories of our time. And before you roll your eyes, check out this GIF. André Aciman perfectly captures the throes of love through his metaphor-heavy prose. The novel may only be a decade old, but it has already been labelled a queer classic. This makes Aciman the perfect person to look to for book recommendations, which why the Guardian tasked him with unpacking the best works of literature about first love. The list is era-spanning and very high-brow, including works from the gothic novel Wuthering Heights to Madame de La Fayette’s 15th century French unrequited love story The Princess of Cleves.
Aciman starts off with a little-known queer novel from 1949 titled Olivia. Things definitely don’t get hot and heavy between the title character and her headmistress. In fact, no proclamations of love or physical acts happen between the two, but the tension simmers throughout the novel. Then there are the collection of short stories by Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, First Love. Once again, the crushes never escalate into concrete action. Aciman then ends with the most seminal piece of romance in history: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Classics are classics for a reason.
Looking at Aciman’s list, the influences on Call Me By Your Name are immediately clear. Aciman is clearly not interested in loves that last. He is about exploring what happens when obstacles get in our way or we know our time is limited. It brings out something new inside of you.
Aciman offers up this 17th century quote: “We love only once in our lives: the first time. The loves that follow are always less involuntary.” So remember, give your heart up wisely.