Rachel R. Reviews Aciman’s FIND ME!

[Call Me By Your Name], full of youth and passion and honor, is a brief glimpse into one summer; Find Me instead is a meandering journey for a spiritual home.”
After the devastatingly beautiful dive into first love that was Call Me By Your Name, your friendly neighborhood booksellers were both anticipatory and apprehensive to return to Elio and Oliver in André Aciman’s sequel Find Me. As it turns out, we had nothing to fear. Though not at all what might be expected (if you’re expecting another CMBYN), Find Me is, as the title would imply, a journey of finding—and a beautiful one at that. In Find Me readers will discover a delicate and literary slice of queer life observing that “while we must live chronologically, emotions, relationships and family do not have to move the same way” according to bookseller Rachel R.  Read on for Rachel’s review!

“From the opening, I was delightfully surprised by André Aciman’s Find Me. Picking up fifteen years after the summer of Call Me By Your Name, the four sections explore what became of Samuel, Elio, and Oliver’s lives. There is only a little overlap between these three characters—when they do meet each other, it is brief.
No, I won’t spoil the end, but don’t go into the book looking for dramatic reunions. Find Me instead focuses on the fragments of life, the pieces of ourselves we lose as we grow and change, and how we respect and honor the people we used to be by living as the people we are now. The precision with which Aciman discusses the relationships among the parts of ourselves quickly became my favorite element of the book.
Forgive me the comparison, but with a novel so full of beautiful brief allusions to classical Greek literature and history—I keep coming back to Oliver fantasizing about potential lovers in bed, focusing not on the more traditionally seductive but on what their Achilles’ tendons would look like against his sheets—I cannot help but understand Find Me as The Odyssey to Call Me By Your Name’s Iliad.
CMBYN, full of youth and passion and honor, is a brief glimpse into one summer; Find Me instead is a meandering journey for a spiritual home. The world guides Samuel and Elio and Oliver best it can, echoes of their past and stories of others’ leading them in certain directions, but ultimately one they each take themselves. But unlike The Odyssey and many other Greek myths, Find Me is a story built on recognition. Unlike Penelope who doesn’t recognize Odysseus when he returns home or Oedipus who doesn’t realize Jokasta is his mother, the characters of Find Me, both the main three men and the surrounding cast, recognize themselves in one another almost immediately.
Even before secrets are shared, these characters understand each other’s desires and rituals and fears on a fundamental level that is only deepened by talking. Perhaps this was what I found most enchanting about the book—and for me, these unspoken connections spoke closely to my own experiences as a queer person. Even though individual lives are different (and most certainly one queer person cannot speak for another), there is often an immediacy of kinship that Aciman portrays so well.
A similar thread throughout the novel leans into Judaism, both culturally and religiously. There is no mention of AIDS in Find Me (though to be frank, I don’t know the extent to which the AIDS epidemic traveled to Europe), but the Holocaust haunts the bulk of the novel. Perhaps ‘haunts’ is too dreary a word—while the generational effects of Jewish genocide certainly cast a shadow over the story, it almost acts as shade in a too-bright world. The rituals—vigils, as Samuel and Elio would call them—to locate and remember your past, your family’s past, help the characters of Find Me piece together the fragmentation of modern life into something resembling a whole. Similar moves are made to find queer history, so often unwritten just as European anti-Semitism left too much out of family histories.
Deeply romantic in its perspective of life, family, and relationships, Find Me infuses every page with the hope that we can always restart what we had to stop, listen to voices and songs long gone, and find what has been lost.”

We hope that you’re as excited to read Aciman’s latest as we are–and that you’ll consider joining us at 7PM on Friday, Nov 1st, when André Aciman will be here in person to speak about and sign his new book! Purchase your copy of Find Me now to save your spot in the signing line. 

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