The BookBrowse Review

Published September 16, 2020

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Book Jacket

Find Me
by André Aciman
4 Aug 2020
272 pages
Publisher: Picador
ISBN-13: 9781250758071
Genre: Novels
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In this spellbinding exploration of the varieties of love, the author of the worldwide bestseller Call Me by Your Name revisits its complex and beguiling characters decades after their first meeting.

No novel in recent memory has spoken more movingly to contemporary readers about the nature of love than André Aciman's haunting Call Me by Your Name. First published in 2007, it was hailed as "a love letter, an exceptionally beautiful book" (Stacey D'Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review). Nearly three quarters of a million copies have been sold, and the book became a much-loved, Academy Award–winning film starring Timothée Chalamet as the young Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver, the graduate student with whom he falls in love.

In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio's father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami's plans and changes his life forever.

Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.

Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.

Here are some of the recent comments posted about Find Me.
You can read the full discussion here, and please do participate if you wish.
Be aware that this discussion will contain spoilers!

Do you agree with Samuel's observations on love? (8 responses)

I question myself just how much I believe in Samuel's observations. I am a loner and it takes a special type person to be in love with or love me. I may have more of his thoughts than even I like to admit - taking.mytime

Do you believe Oliver's expectations of his relationship with his wife were naïve? Do you think it's possible for a relationship to grow over time the way Oliver expect his to mature? (8 responses)

I don't think that Oliver was naive about his relationship with his wife. He expected the things that all married couples wish for. However being bi-sexual one sex was bound to win out. It might have taken years, but some of that time may well have been trying to live up to his responsibilities. ... - taking.mytime

How are the different stages of life depicted? How does a character's age influence his or her beliefs about life, love and death? How has your age influenced your beliefs over time? (3 responses)

youth - MIranda;
middle age Elio and Oliver;
old age Samuel and Michele

My core beliefs have remained pretty steady over my lifetime. However my patience has finally gotten much better, making my beliefs a bit more mellow and steady

- taking.mytime

How do you believe the past and present intertwine throughout the novel, and what are the consequences? By the end of the book, have the lives of the deceased been extended into the present, and if so, how? (4 responses)

The characters mentioned their lost ones, thereby extending the loves of those deceased - taking.mytime

How do you think Elio's experience of first love as a boy shape the man he has become? What do you believe Oliver's infatuation with Erica and Paul says about him? (2 responses)

Since I hadn't read the prequel to this novel, I really did feel like their story was revealed gradually... finding out that Oliver was Elios first, and really, only love until he meets Michel. Then that Oliver left him for a woman and ended up getting married and having a family, then that Elio is... - beckys

How does fate or chance impact each character? How do the lyrics of the Brazilian song that Elio translates for Michel resonate throughout the book? Do you believe in fate? (2 responses)

I am not a great believer in fate or chance. I think we plan our own destiny, make out own moves, make our own successes and mistakes.

I think both Elio and Miranda believe in fate. Elio believed that even though he and Oliver did not communicate that they were still connected and could pick right ...

- taking.mytime

If you've read Call Me by Your Name, how do the two compare? Are there other similar books or authors you'd recommend? (7 responses)

I have read both books. As I commented in another question I think the section of Elio and Oliver came far too late with far to little - taking.mytime

In general, what lessons do you think the book teaches us about love? To whom is it available? What sacrifices does it require? Do you agree with the author's point of view on the subject? (4 responses)

I think the book indicates that love is individual and everything is open. There is no right or wrong - no age requirements or gender bias. Love is a feeling and often times a feeling that one cannot control - taking.mytime

In what way, do you think, is each character's story a parable about how time and life are not in sync? (5 responses)

I always end up thinking about the choices someone makes regarding the topic of what was is/was/might have been. Sometimes decisions are made that don't seem hard or easy, but in the end have broad impacts. Does that mean time and life are out of sync? Each character made decisions that may have ... - poniesnpearls

Is there a passage or quote in the book that especially resonated with you? (8 responses)

Asking God for "one more hour" with a loved one is something that I have done, so that rang true to me - taking.mytime

Michel states that 'all lives are condemned to remain unfinished' and that 'by the time we learn to live, it's already too late.' Do you agree? (7 responses)

Maybe the thought of never knowing when our life will end is part of that thought. Are there not times like one we are in now when we may believe or wish that we could be more. Okay “all lives” is a bit harsh. Having dealt with depression, deaths, illness and life I can see that there are moments... - tracyb

Michel suspects people have multiple 'selves'. What do you suppose he means? If you agree with the statement, how have your many 'selves' been different from each other? (7 responses)

I am not sure that everyone does change “selves” at least in an over all sense. Agree that in different roles we can respond in a variety of ways. A person may be gregarious with friends yet closed with family. This story reminds me of people that feel the spark of change, the FIND ME moment. ... - tracyb

Oliver muses that, 'Music ... reminds us of who, despite all our claims or denials, we've always known we were and are destined to remain.' Do you think this statement is true? How has music impacted your life, if at all? (7 responses)

I think we reminisce through music. We gravitate to music that we like, which may say something about us. You do not get the same reaction or expectations of people who like rap vs someone who likes classical music - taking.mytime

Overall, what do you think of Find Me? (no spoilers in this thread please) (25 responses)

Overall - neutral would be my word. Parts of the book resonated and captured my attention, other parts I skimmed - poniesnpearls

Samuel talks about his father's death, saying he feels like he's never really died, that he's just absent. What are your views about loved ones who've passed away? (11 responses)

A recent death makes this question to raw to answer...sorr - taking.mytime

Was there a character that you particularly disliked? (9 responses)

I did not particularly care for Michele. It was noting I could put into words, I just liked him less than everyone else - taking.mytime

Were you surprised that the romance between Samuel and Miranda continued until his death, and that Miranda and her son moved in with Elio afterwards? (16 responses)

Thank you takingmytime! I agree they had very special relationship that could only grow with time - tracyb

What is the significance of Adrien and Léon's story, and how does the cadenza Adrien leaves to his son fit in? (5 responses)

I became as fascinated in the cadenza as Elio was. The Jewish connection was fascinating. I missed the brown ink what a good catch, thanks Kirk. I can imagine someone in a concentration camp jotting down snipers of music - tracyb

What is the significance of each section title? (7 responses)

Each title helps to carry on the musical presence in the book - taking.mytime

What is your first impression of Miranda and Samuel? Why are they drawn to each other? Why do you think Aciman chose this opening? Do you initiate conversations with strangers? (13 responses)

A novel takes me to those what if moments. I liked that! Yes they are different in many ways that people might consider, dangerous, a manipulation, out of the box, a societal no no, as has been stated.
I loved the back and forth conversation and quiet moments.

I often talk with people or they to me....

- tracyb

What moments of tragedy, comedy and romance did you find in the book? What other stories of lovers reunited after years of separation does this novel bring to mind? (2 responses)

I was touched by the obsessiveness of certain loves - debra

Who do you believe is the 'Me' of the book's title? What does it mean to you to be found? How do you find the themes of love, loss and loneliness are explored in each section? (9 responses)

Me equals the revealing of who you are in that safe and secure place, to yourself or another. Listening to that inner voice, your gut whatever one calls it - tracyb

Why do you think Michel chooses 'canard' to describe Oliver's marriage? Is it meant to be ironic? Did you find other canards depicted in the characters' lives? (3 responses)

Perhaps because not being who you really are, with the person you truly love is an unfortunate story - poniesnpearls

"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." - Booklist (starred review)

"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." - Kirkus Reviews

"Elegant...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." - Publishers Weekly

"You don't have to have read Call Me by Your Name, Aciman's 2007 bestselling novel turned Oscar-nominated movie, to immediately fall in love with this sexy, melancholic follow-up. It stands entirely separate, yet connected, a beautiful ode to the passage of time, to the lasting power of true love and the ache of loneliness...the revelations about who these characters have become unraveling slowly like a gorgeous piece of classical music." - Buzzfeed

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