My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An emotionally packed, intensely obsessive, stream-of-consciousness story set against the backdrop of a summertime vacation in Italy. It is a love story akin to Brokeback Mountain (or what should be known as Annie Proulx's short story "Close Range"), only with the added dilemma of age differences and inevitable end-of-summer separation factoring into the mix.
Aciman writes the story from inside Elio's head with such conviction, that anyone with the slightest obsessive compulsion will be swept away into his absolute need for Oliver. The push and pull of his yearning, the "I-am-perfect-for-him" mixed with "I'll never be anything in his eyes" moments that happen nearly simultaneously are so poignant that we're in his fifteen-year-old head. Yes, it gets exhausting to go back and forth and over and over the same thing so much, but not necessarily because it is so repetitive as a reader, but because it feels so repetitive to be this character. As a reader, we are convinced we have become him, have adopted his obsessions and his insecurities. And in this way, Aciman carries us along for the duration of the story--all the way to its appropriately unsatisfactory ending.