I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.
A new writer I recently discovered, has led me to an amazing story of love and passion. The story revolves around three couples loosely connected by time and space, with a thinner connection by blood. André Aciman’s latest novel, Find Me, is a powerful story of the connections created by love. Find Me is a sequel to Call Me by Your Name. He has written six other novels. He lives with his wife in Manhattan.
Sami is riding a train from Florence to Rome to visit his son, Elio, a gifted classical pianist. When the train pulls out of the station, a young woman, Miranda, strikes up a conversation. At first Sami is annoyed, but an interesting banter begins when he asks her, “Why so glum.” Eventually, Miranda moves across from him. She is also on the same train to meet with her father who is perilously ill. Aciman writes, “I could tell she was facetious. But I liked her breezy, informal manner that skidded from sullen to sprightly and assumed mine did as well. Her tone jibed with her casual clothes: scuffed hiking boots, a pair of jeans, no makeup, and a half-unbuttoned, faded, reddish lumberjack shirt worn over a black T-shirt. And yet, despite the rumpled look, she had green eyes and dark eyebrows. She knows, I thought, she knows. Probably knows why I made that silly comment about her glumness. I was sure strangers were always finding one pretext or another to start a conversation with her. Which explains that irritated don’t you even try look she projects wherever she goes” (6). I once road a train through Italy, and I experienced that same sort of wonder about a lonely companion who started a conversation. That one ended when we separated at the station.
Sami is reluctant to begin a relationship, but Miranda insists, and he finally surrenders, and goes to visit Miranda’s father. Sami and Miranda quickly began a passionate and intense love affair. The conversation, begun on the train, continues for the length first hundred or so pages. Miranda admits to Sami, “‘I see a shrink,’ she finally said, with an almost audible rise of protest in her voice. // Had I yet again snubbed her without meaning to? // ‘I see one too,’ I rejoindered, perhaps to take back what might have seemed an unintended slight. // We stared at each other. I liked her warm and trusting smile; it suggested something frail and genuine, perhaps even vulnerable. No wonder the men in her life closed in on her. They knew what they were losing the moment she turned her eyes away. Out went the smile, or the languor when she asked heart-to-heart questions while staring with those piercing green eyes that never let up, out the disquieting need for intimacy that her glance tore out of every man when your eyes happened to lock on her in a public space and you knew there went your life. She was doing it right now. She made intimacy want to happen, made it easy, as if you’d always had it in you to give, and were craving to share it but realized you’d never find it in yourself unless it was with her. I wanted to hold her, touch her hand, let a finger drift along her forehead” (19-20). This delicate dance between two strangers requires careful steps all along the way.
Find Me: A Novel by André Aciman is a story for many romantics. However, after page 117, the rating for this story quickly switches to at least NC-17. 5 Stars.
Likely Stories is a production of KWBU. I’m Jim McKeown. Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!