The structure of Aciman’s sequel, Find Me, is likely to disappoint those who’ve been eagerly waiting to find out what has become of Elio, the earnest teenage piano prodigy, and his summer guest ... The first half of the new book concerns neither of these two lovers, and is told entirely from the perspective of Elio’s now-divorced father, Samuel, as he finds himself infatuated with a much younger woman he meets on a train ... it’s hard to read this section without feeling impatient for our leading men to take the stage ... Call Me by Your Name,...offered a visceral depiction of the all-encompassing and transformative properties of falling in love. Find Me, by contrast, turns its focus on the comedown, the second acts. It is a lyrical meditation on being forced to move to another location after the party’s over, on the Sisyphean task of trying to replicate the magic of young passion ... As much as we all may have craved 300 more pages of vivid descriptions of Oliver and Elio, together once more and vacillating between the throes of lust and torment,instead we are given a book that explores what can happen when your life gets away from you, when you realize just how much time you’ve wasted. It may not make for the stuff of glistening cinema, but it strikes an affectingly melancholy chord.
These characters are so unreal—she a wet dream, he a cipher—that any specificity at all becomes embarrassing, as if Aciman were revealing his particular turn-ons ... This points to a bigger problem with the book: since all of the narrators are in love and interact mainly with their lovers, the only opinions we ever hear expressed about these people are sweaty and rapturous. The result is a novel that feels besotted with its characters despite scant evidence of their charms. The sex writing itself is unfortunate ... Never has a whirlwind romance felt so interminable ... The leads in Call Me by Your Name were self-conscious and soulful, but they also scanned as sweet and curious; theirs was the insufferability of youth ... That universality has fled from Find Me, which feels alternately too vague, too offensive, and too ridiculous to do anything but place one’s empathic imagination on a rack until one surrenders to one’s own contempt ... The relationships in Aciman’s novel, be they transient or lasting, are marked by an affinity that tends to deepen through conversation, though it requires no words. It is all the more ironic, then, that this reviewer’s experience of Find Me was one of such profound disattunement. The book wants to be intimate, profound, but it reads as glib and remote, impervious to actual feeling. Indeed, the text seems not to account for an audience. An apter title would be Get Lost.
We see nothing of the dark side of Italy, with right-wing politics or trash rotting in the streets because everyone’s on strike. In other words, the characters are as overprivileged as ever, and Aciman populates his novel with a sensual, almost overripe type of a man who swears he can’t live without Balvenie Doublewood 17 Year Scotch. Better yet, Aciman’s people are as foolish as ever, and their foolishness is their point of connection with the reader. It’s tempting to describe Find Me as a pleasant, post-summer diversion, but it’s deeper than that. It will remind you of that one person you loved and lost and maybe found again. True, the book is lush, but it’s also bittersweet and nostalgic and a bit heartachey. Autumnal is probably the best word to describe it.
... thoughtful ... Aciman, a famous Proustian, is clearly interested in the diffusive action of time and the heartaches of temps perdu. His keen sense of what’s lost or missing, even in a happy new relationship, allows Find Me to dodge, at least in part, the sentimental imperative that mars many sequels. Its bittersweetness is welcome ... Unfortunately, the diffuseness necessarily means it lacks the intensity of Call Me by Your Name, whose short-leased summer gave that book its particular kind of tragic suspense. In addition, what was charmingly grandiloquent in the adolescent Elio — a florid style; an expansive frame of reference — is cloying and ostentatious in a cast of adult narrators ... A certain preciousness has some benefits. Aciman’s quiet, label-free presentation of bisexual life represents a minor triumph, respectfully embracing the mystery of the desires of others. Likewise, his refusal to offer easy resolution, which infuses the whole romantic enterprise with a kind of delicious melancholy. There are moments, particularly in the final chapter, that may have readers gazing tearfully into their fireplaces, real or imaginary, just like Timothée Chalamet at the end of Luca Guadagnino’s superlative film of Call Me by Your Name. It can be hard to go home.
We see how the generational attitudes of each of the characters shape how they view the world around them and how they can learn from and impart wisdom onto their partner. This leads to a more intriguing read, as while Call Me By Your Name was told entirely from Elio’s perspective, in this novel we are given multiple point-of-views ... improves on many of the subjects and topics Aciman first discussed in Call Me By Your Name. The characters from the first novel remain intriguing and the new characters rise up to their level, offering interesting new outlooks that inspire dramatic set pieces. It also helps that these characters’ various engagements take place in vividly drawn locales. Rome was briefly touched upon in the first novel and feels more alive and fantastic here, while the Paris section adds magic and wonder to Elio’s narrative ... The only real criticism is that sometimes the various sections are a bit imbalanced in relation to one another ... offers a emotionally relatable world, despite the rarefied locations. It’s the kind of sequel that improves on the original’s themes and scenarios. It is a story that inspires reflection: where you’ve been, where you’re going to go, and with whom will you go along these journeys.
... essentially a novel of echoes. Each of its disparate sections, narrated first by Samuel, then by Elio, and then by Oliver before Elio eventually gets the final word, interrogate the ways in which the past—whether in the form of lived experiences or in imagined detours—is where we are our truest, most yearning selves. The echoes are sometimes more beautiful than the sounds that they reflect ... Aciman dispenses with the notion of love as fuel for narrative and instead uses its power of transfiguration as the measure by which to evaluate a life ... For all its straightforward narration, Find Me has layers of complexity that come through as echoes between its sections, dialogue repeated in slightly different cadences by characters as they circle around issues of time and fate, life and death. The novel’s beating heart is the fact of mortality and the tragedy of aging, which is staged in stark relief by the age discrepancy between the members of the novel’s first two romantic pairings ... a series of ghost stories interrupted by fleeting flashes of light, just like the lives of the characters described in its pages who find and lose and find again their great loves. But it’s the possibility of light that we all live for, as these characters remind us. The chance for someone to dim everything that has come before into shadow.
That Find Me is discontinuous with its ostensible precursor is a strength, not a weakness, that allows us to see familiar people and places afresh, in new stages of life ... The first two sections of Find Me, the furthest in time from Elio and Oliver’s reunion, are the book’s most powerful. They showcase Aciman’s finest mode: sketching the contours of a relationship through its small confidences, gestures, and extended conversations that dispense with naturalism in favor of exposing the essence of the pair’s dynamic, its delicate back-and-forth play, balanced on the edge of their passions ... the closer we get to the return of the original pairing, the less convincing that commentary becomes. In the penultimate section, Oliver’s obsessive musings on Elio at the party beggared the belief of this reader, usually happy to inhabit a surreal, dreamlike mood but unsettled by a man who feels he’s wasted the last 20 years of his life yet hasn’t done a thing about it except whimper into the ether ... The final section, the novel’s least impressive on the levels of sentence and subject matter, affords wish fulfillment for readers who believe in the inexorable pull of fate, or soulmates, or who simply couldn’t stand to see their striking young paramours separated for good. I remain, for my part, flummoxed ... What Aciman does so deftly in the novel’s first two sections is construct a world that runs parallel to the one we left in Call Me by Your Name, one with some recognizable faces, bearing the imprint of the past but embroiled in new stories, ones we can become invested in on their own narrative merits. Elio and Oliver’s reunion, by contrast, comes off as a regression, a bleating insistence that nothing has changed since that lusty summer, and that the intervening decades might be discarded with a wave of the hand. It does a disservice, I think, to that lush, delirious romance, luminously rendered in the best of Aciman’s prose, to imply that it invalidates the next 20 years of these men’s lives. That Aciman lapses here into melodrama and cliché suggests he isn’t convinced, either.
Literary sequels are tricky. When a book is beautiful enough to stoke demands for more, it probably means the author should leave well enough alone...Alas, such is the case with Find Me ... dispenses with many of the ingredients that made the earlier book so moving ... Whereas Elio and Oliver were all restraint and electrifying frisson, this pair is tediously headlong and verbal. In their manic coupling, it is hard to discern anything more than an older man’s fantasy ... Fans of the first book may be pleased to once again inhabit Elio’s sensitive, erudite thoughts, but any relief will surely dissipate in the face of all the panting dialogue ... Gone is the subtle, ruminative interiority of the first book. In its place Mr. Aciman has drawn some unsexy and unromantic couples who can’t stop talking about the awesomeness of their sex and love ... By the time readers get to an older and remorseful Oliver in the third section, few may care whether he and Elio get back together. This is a shame. The beauty of the first novel was the way it captured the surprisingly long shadow of young love. Find Me may be guided by nostalgia for this singular romance, but the book itself sadly illustrates the value of moving on.
... primarily a self-insertion fantasy where the 68-year-old author has written two stories about ... Miranda is a classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a photographer who takes Samuel around Rome and snaps pictures of him as he regales her with tales of how happy he was when he worked in the city and slept with his students ... The whole thing would seem like parody if Aciman showed even a bit of self-awareness. As a kicker, Miranda’s whole purpose seems to be to produce a baby for Elio and Oliver to decide is theirs even though she’s still alive ... the author has no idea what to do with the characters ... What’s infuriating is that when Elio and Oliver finally do come together, Find Me manages to recapture the magic of Call Me By Your Name...Their emotional and sexual anxieties feel honest and relatable in a way that nothing else in the novel does ... Aciman wastes his readers’ time by delivering a lengthy preamble that has nothing to do with what made his original novel great ... Maybe someone can stretch the novel’s final chapter into a properly satisfying follow-up, but until then Find Me is a terrible disappointment.
André Aciman’s new novel, Find Me, is a beguiling sequel to his ode to obsessive love, Call Me by Your Name ... Aciman’s characters are literate, well-traveled romantics, which is what makes it so pleasant to be in their company ... Find Me and Call Me by Your Name are the most literate versions imaginable of one of the most enduring tales of all time: 'Boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy in the end.'
... seems a naked attempt to capitalize on the earlier novel’s runaway success ... The first disappointment in picking up Find Me is that Elio and Oliver’s reunion is relegated to the last 12 pages ... While Sami may have had the most memorable lines from Call Me by Your Name, it seems a stretch that he should be the character whose story anchors the sequel ... we also glimpse the patriarchal energy that settles over Find Me and Call Me by Your Name like a bad smell. In both novels, it is only the male’s desire that matters, only his needs that have weight or substance ... There are strong and impactful reflections on loss, desire, and intimacy, but those themes seem rather diluted and distorted from their earlier pitch ... Every daddy is, in the end, rewarded with a pretty young(er) thing, a sort of literary dose of Viagra for characters elegantly wringing their hands over the loss of youth and vitality ... we watch not so much representations of human beings as representations of representations ... Aciman’s characters read as hollow and shopworn, their idyllic lives vapid, inconsequential, uninteresting. Without anything anchoring them to the ground, neither an impactful realism nor the nuance and complications that make a life interesting to read, the characters in Find Me end up feeling merely lost.
The book is bad. Its prose runs purple, with baroque clichés about love, regret, and time’s passage failing to compensate for a dearth of revelation about any of these themes. About midway through reading it, I realized that my most exasperated notes for this review simply rediscovered basic tenets of realist fiction, like 'Show, don’t tell' ... The prose might be forgiven if it were a vehicle for more compelling characters. Unfortunately, the book’s leading men are logorrheic narcissists. They discuss themselves interminably but without personality or verve. Most of the details we learn about their lives are delivered in long and unnatural autobiographical monologues ... my main impression reading Find Me was of haste, a perfunctory book by someone who might never have bothered to write it if not for a new fandom brought by the movie. But we can’t blame speed alone ... Rather than reflect on the changing social function of Elio’s cultural patrimony, Aciman skirts it; the presumed integrity of this matrix is, of course, the point...The AIDS crisis and institutionalized homophobia never impinge on Elio’s experience of the 1980s and ’90s, but these displacements don’t just put the book’s politics in question. They drain Find Me of social texture, as though Aciman had insulated his characters from contemporary reality by wrapping them in plastic ... Queer history will survive this effacement, just as Aciman’s classicism does no real harm to anyone outside its gilded circle. It’s the novels that suffer for their exclusions.
... completely won me over. But it is a novel that is almost guaranteed to divide readers. Those picking up Find Me expecting to revisit the bucolic romance of Elio and Oliver among the peach trees and the flirtatious renditions of Bach’s Capriccio in B flat major will be surely devastated, for Aciman has produced a work that is almost brazenly the antithesis of fan service ... There’s no denying that this episode is meandering and bloated. Taking up nearly half the novel’s length, fans of CMBYN will be wondering why the hell they’re reading this seemingly extraneous novella about someone whose name is neither Elio nor Oliver. And sadly this isn’t the only misstep Aciman takes with this episode...The overt heterosexuality presented throughout is tiring and, at times, leering. Mr Perlman’s fawning over the woman, who we are regularly reminded is half his age, evokes the filmography of Woody Allen, which is to say that witnessing it makes the reader feel like they’re complicit in something ... The remaining three episodes, which make up the novel’s second half, are thankfully from the perspectives of Elio and Oliver and display Aciman in familiar top form ... I finished Find Me with a new-found respect for André Aciman. He simply could have just listened to the fans and rehashed his first novel and cashed in on that. Instead, Aciman has, rather boldly, decided to just write an Aciman novel ... those of us able to recognise that this isn’t Call Me By Your Name will be impressed by Aciman’s delicate and audacious novel. To call it a sequel would be dishonest, and I feel many people will be let down by expecting a sequel. So, to borrow from the language of music as Aciman so frequently does, think of Find Me as CMBYN’s coda, the final flourish that ends a great work.
... incandescent ... In sensuous prose, Aciman creates honest relationships unfettered by age, gender, or time, perfectly capturing that initial hesitancy one experiences when embarking upon an intimate liaison. The joy and mystery of music, so wondrously described that you can hear it, features prominently ... Aciman gifts readers with a beautiful 21st-century romance that reflects on the remembrance of things past and the courage to embrace the future. Highly recommended.
It is difficult to avoid a sophomore slump when the book you wrote has become canon for anyone who is either gay or believes in love in countries the world over...Aciman avoids this slump deftly, paying homage to the characters he created whilst serenading the reader through their journeys of growth—as human and flawed as these may be ... I hadn’t given serious consideration to the fact that all of us feel something different from one minute to another—this is apparent in the ways we move and look and talk to one another—until I read this book ... In real life it is assumed that when we break up with someone, we will, eventually, move on. With time and with distance and with everything else that we’re told to take when we’re hurting, the assumption is that we will one day wake up and move through the world as if nothing had ever happened. In Aciman’s world, this assumption is completely flipped on its head, and that is what makes Find Me so irresistible ... Some of the long-winded descriptions of Miranda, Samuel’s love interest, for instance, can be exhausting to read in their close analysis of her every move. But, in fairness, when you’re in love, is it possible to really just let anything be? For readers who want to know what constitutes a happy ending; what things change and don’t change at all as we move through life; what it means to love and be loved: rendered in Aciman’s gorgeously meandering yet measured prose, Find Me will provide at least one answer.
[Aciman] skillfully delays gratification in this novel ... Aciman’s agenda is more than simply to provide closure. Find Me is a digressive and complicated novel that delights in the most intimate details of romance. Inevitably, some readers will view certain characters and entire sections as disposable. I’ll admit that upon immediate reflection, I questioned the point of the central romance in Part Two. Why spend nearly one hundred pages on a relationship, only to abandon it entirely? In a book where the characters are so delicately drawn, it struck me as a waste. Here I was, like most readers, begging for the closure Aciman is so intent on resisting. But Aciman, in a defiant move, treats love stories exactly as they are: passionate and intimate and full-hearted — even if they are not permanent — even if they do not fit into the service of a larger narrative ... It will become evident to readers that Elio and Oliver have matured since Call Me By Your Name. Aciman’s writing has undergone the same maturation. Find Me, digressive as it may be, is a structural marvel. This novel is a slow-burn, and its steady pace crescendos toward a moving fifty or so pages at the end. With that said, it takes a while for the novel to pick up steam. Part One includes some unbelievably cloying moments ... By the second part of the novel, we are spared the flirtatious verbal sparring and assertions of love that propel forward Miranda and Samuel’s relationship. The prose grows denser, and these missteps lessen. Aciman decorates the remainder of the novel with remarkable flourishes of prose ... it is notable that gay sex in Find Me is more reminiscent of what we see in the film version of Call Me By Your Name than it is the novel. One can only hope that Aciman is not pivoting away from his past efforts in an attempt to appeal to his newfound, broader audience ... is not without its flaws, but through its willingness to delay and elude closure altogether, it proves itself indispensable to longtime readers and newcomers alike — something too many sequels fail to do.
The issue with these first two sections, and with the book as a whole, is that the characters' psychodramas, when externalized, amount to little more than vague philosophical tête-à-têtes. These intellectual reveries are charming at first, but in repetition they mostly serve to distance the characters from the realities of their suffering. As such, their sudden romantic entanglements feel like convenient bandages to much deeper wounds ... At best, these meet cutes feel a little unrealistic; at worst, some of the more graphic scenes feel due for a nomination from 2019's bad sex awards ... The upside to Find Me is that Aciman's prose is as gorgeous and measured as ever. Although the story's philosophical insights don't amount to much, he certainly puts up a good fight trying to convince the reader otherwise. The act of reading the novel itself is a pleasurable one, even if ultimately disappointing. Some threads are quite fascinating ... Their happily ever after does just what literary fiction shouldn't, providing an unambiguous ending to the tentative, fleeting love of the original source material ... sticks an addendum of fated certainty onto a love story made all the more passionate by the restrictions of time, cheapening it with its own closed-ended revisionism.
... gentler and more melancholy than its predecessor ... effective at building tension. But it’s also frustrating, because it means we spend a lot of time with Samuel and Miranda as Aciman hammers home his chosen themes. And Samuel and Miranda are not particularly interesting characters ... Aciman writes it in his most exalted, lyrical prose, letting his characters pile one destiny-driven vow on top of another in cascading sentences ... Miranda and Samuel exist only as shallow outlines: Samuel represents wise and cosmopolitan age and Miranda is his perfect reflection in a young and vigorous body. That is the dynamic that Aciman seems interested in to the exclusion of all else, and the second time he writes it, it’s less convincing than the first ... Because Samuel and Miranda aren’t real characters, when they settle into the quasi-symposium that in Aciman’s worldview is the natural prelude to sex, their rapport doesn’t quite ring true. Which is surprising, because usually those symposiums work for Aciman even when they shouldn’t ... the emotion never quite comes through with Samuel and Miranda, because Aciman hasn’t made the effort to turn them into more than flat types. As a result, their symposiums feel like just that: symposiums, without the undercurrent of love and desire and fear that made Elio and Oliver’s symposiums so compelling.
There are moments when reading the novel feels a bit like skimming through a very high-class travel brochure ... There are deeper themes running through the work, however ... Other novelists might have enjoyed untangling such a Freudian nightmare, but Aciman leaves it as it is ... Although the dialogue is stylised, there is a warmth and a humanity in Aciman’s prose that enraptures with its slow, easy embrace. Just don’t expect any easy answers, and certainly no happy-ever-after.
As always, Aciman writes about desire with blunt honesty, describing erotic and emotional interactions with equal clarity. Sex can be tender or not, the connection lasting or ephemeral, but it is almost always multilayered and complex ... Aciman tends to pile on the descriptives, urging us to accept his characters’ points of view. When these are supported, the beauty of the language – Aciman’s careful specificity – adds up to emotion. At other times, he makes sweeping pronouncements in language that may be read as either Proustian or pompous ... the cross-generational sex at times pushes credibility ... The book is also marred by a slight whiff of misogyny. The homosexual love stories, by their nature, focus on men. But while all these men experience desire at all ages, even as they worry about their failing bodies and fading abilities, any woman they encounter is either young and beautiful ... Such complaints may be dismissed by the novel’s primary audience, those who fell in love with the central romance of Call Me By Your Name. However, for other readers who prize Aciman’s rapturous prose, they give reason to pause, breaking at least for a moment the beautiful dream.
Call Me By Your Name was widely praised for its treatment of the nature of love, a theme that Find Me continues with subtlety and grace. Its treatment of the characters’ psychology is astute and insightful, but what will ultimately drive reader interest is the question of whether star-crossed lovers Elio and Oliver will reunite. One can only hope.
Having read much of Aciman’s work, I find his writing intriguing and maddening in equal parts. While the elegance of his prose and the sophistication of his characters are to be admired, his creations rarely seem human, speaking in a pompous fashion where everyone, regardless of age or circumstance, is intimately familiar with classical music and philosophy. Love lies at the heart of his books, but as a concept rather than a reality. No one in an Aciman novel can ever just go on a few dates and see how things work out. Instead they know from their first interaction that they’re destined to be together, revelling in the authenticity of their affections. Ultimately, it does not make them seem evolved but narcissistic, shallow and a little immature ... I’m as romantic as the next guy but there’s a fine line between passion and recklessness ... Novels don’t have to reflect real life, they can elevate the quotidian into something heightened and beautiful, but if the reader wants to shout, 'Oh grow up, you’ve only just met!' at the characters, then something’s gone awry ... It’s annoying to feel such frustration with a writer who is as gifted a stylist as Aciman, and whose work is centred around that most basic of human needs, love. Characters in a novel should never feel like characters in a novel and too often here, they do. This is a shame considering his preoccupations are relatable and his descriptions of Rome and life on the continent are beautifully drawn, as evocative as anything you might find in EM Forster. But honestly, if one of these characters ended up in a train carriage with me and tried to start a conversation, I’d grab my things and go in search of an empty seat.
Aciman is skillful at cataloguing the sensual pleasures of a bourgeois existence: artistically inclined people moving through flawlessly appointed villas ... You’ll be forgiven if this bit of dialogue makes you lose your puntarelle ... Michel is older than Elio; Sami is older than Miranda. Aciman clearly wants us to make something of this, but what, I have no idea. Call Me by Your Name has a kind of infectious horniness its sequel lacks. By the time Miranda’s confessed her incestuous desire for her brother, I was ready to take a lifelong vow of chastity ... A work of art remains static. We’re the ones who change. I can understand why an artist might return to his most successful work, but you can’t go home again—even if that home happens to be a flawlessly appointed villa.
Elio is the heart of the novel, as its core themes—including fatherhood, music, the nature of time and fate, the weight and promise of the past—are infused with eroticism, nostalgia and tenderness in fluid prose. The novel again demonstrates Aciman’s capacity to fuse the sensual and the cerebral in stories that touch the heart
Aciman blends assuredly mature themes with deep learning in which the likes of Bach and Cavafy and several languages grace the proceedings, and his story is touching without being sentimental even if some of it is too neatly inevitable. An elegant, memorable story of enduring love across the generations.