Discussion of André Aciman’s thrilling new novel: ‘Find Me’


Author Aciman is well known for his novel ‘Call Me By Your Name’

André Aciman spoke about his inspirations for writing, the vibrancy of setting and spontaneity during the discussion of his new novel “Find Me” at the Boston Public Library (BPL) on Sunday Nov. 10, with the Executive Arts Editor WGBH, Jared Bowen.

Following his New York Times bestselling novel “Call Me By Your Name”which was turned into an award-winning motion picture, “Find Me”furthered this storyline and told the lives of the characters 20 years after their first encounter.

Aciman spoke in conversation with the Executive Arts Editor at WGBH, Jared Bowen. The event was held in Rabb Hall of the BPL’s Copley Square branch, where approximately 300 people attended. Copies of the novel were sold outside the lecture hall and attendees could have their book signed by Aciman.

The audience ranged from all ages, the majority interested because of the original novel and now intrigued by Aciman’s new release. Much of the discussion centered on Aciman’s creative process and message behind the storyline in “Find Me”and how it connected to where “Call Me By Your Name”left off.

“I was trying to fill in the gaps that were left gaping in ‘Call Me By Your Name,’” said Aciman. “There was a period where the two boys separated at a certain time, and 20 years later they meet again.”

The original novel tells the love story of two men, Elio and Oliver, who meet in a

small town in Italy, and the confusion and thrills that come with first and true love.

Being that “Call Me By Your Name”was published in 2009, and “Find Me” in 2019, Bowen asked Aciman the purpose for writing and publishing the sequel a decade after the first novel’s release.

The author spoke about how strained continuation of a story can make it lose its true value, which is why he knew he had to wait until it was right to write the second part of his novel. Wittingly, he compared this prolonged revenue of plotlines to the infamous string of boxing movies.

“I didn’t want this to end up being like Rocky II’, ‘III’, ‘IV’, ‘V’,” said Aciman, sparking laughter from the audience. “You can’t do ‘Call Me By Your Name’ twice.”

Aciman pulled inspiration for the new novel, like all his pieces, from different life experiences.

“Suddenly, I was inspired,” said Aciman, speaking about a chance encounter with a woman on a train in Italy and choosing to create a character around this meeting. “I don’t usually know where I’m going with a story, or even a paragraph, but isn’t that the point? That makes the writing all the more vibrant and exciting.”

The discussion was opened to the audience for questions, prompting the author to discuss his choice of setting for the new book, his inspiration for the characters, the film’s comparison to the novel and if there is anything in the works following “Find Me”(to which Aciman said there is no movie currently in the works, but he wouldn’t object to the opportunity) and the overall connection he feels to his stories and the characters involved.

As Aciman reflected on the deep ties he felt to the lives and emotions he has written about, Bowen wrapped up the discussion with one last question. “Do your characters continue to live with you in some respect? Do you, kind of, check in on them in your head?”

“Yes, because you can’t undo them, you’ve created them, they’re there,” said Aciman. “But, put it this way, it wasn’t Elio or Oliver that stayed with me, it was their love.”

Aciman has written numerous other novels and is the editor for the Proust Project. He teaches comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and currently lives with his wife in Manhattan.