Find Me: A Book Review

Find Me by André Aciman, 2019 (Cover: Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

I love love. Before I set about expressing my unversed and uneducated literary opinion on André Aciman’s hotly anticipated Find Me, the sequel to the internationally beloved romance Call Me By Your Name, I think it should be well established that I am perhaps the most hopeless romantic I know. I could read and re-read A Room with a View until the pages fall apart. Despite all this, and as much as I adored Luca Guadagnino’s beautifully heart-shattering screen adaptation of Aciman’s breakout novel, as soon as I picked up its sequel, I wanted to put it down.

On a train between Florence and Rome, our first encounter with either of Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name protagonists is through Elio’s father, Sami. En route to meet his son (who works as a concert pianist) Sami, now divorced, engages in conversation with a nameless woman far younger than himself. Age is just a number; so far so good. Yet mere minutes into their acquaintance, the two travellers become engrossed in a philosophical rapport better suited to the planes of a classical drama than to a contemporary commuter train. Aciman’s usually compelling lyrical prose seems entirely superfluous between two strangers, both of whom miraculously understand the multitude of obscure Grecian references thrown in every couple of pages for good measure. The romance of antiquity is undeniable and I absolutely got the intention. Yet, with every page, Aciman’s pursuit of a sun-drenched romance retreats further into its own ridiculousness. A train journey becomes lunch, lunch becomes a walk, a walk becomes an unprecedented trip to Villa Albani and so on so forth - all marked by exalted declarations of love, questions of tattoos, children and a future together within less than 12 hours of knowing one another. Before you blink, half the novel is gone and you’re left wondering what Aciman lost in the unnecessary excursions and accessory incidents that monopolise this otherwise touching exploration of true love and fate