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Books on Monday: Call Me By Your Name

What with a lot of down-time due to illness, I've read a great deal lately, and the books are piling up at my desk. Rather stupidly, I've written about the last one first, André Aciman's beautiful Call Me By Your Name. I couldn't not. Other books in the pipeline: U.S.!, a genuinely political novel by Chris Bachelder; Ten Days in the Hills, by Jane Smiley; Prime Green, by Robert Stone; Fire in the City, a study of the Savonarolan republic in Florence, by Lauro Martines; and Mary-Ann Tirone Smith's An American Killing. Great reads all. But I didn't write them up the moment I was finished, and now I'm in big trouble.

What I'm reading: A Room With A View, one of my favorite Forsters. Les Bienveillants, by Jonathan Littell. The latter is not easy going; I cover about ten pages an hour. (I'm being unusually scrupulous about looking up words that I don't know, and the book's vocabulary is immense.) At dinner, the other night, I learned that Édouard is twice as far into the book as I am, and that got me to spend an hour with it on Saturday afternoon. We agree that Les Bienveillants (The Kindly Ones - due from HarperCollins in a year or two) is a very great book. Everybody will want to read it, and then there will be a shattering movie not directed by Steven Spielberg.

A small warning about my page on Call Me By Your Name: novelist Nicole Reader cautions readers who "like your literature censored" not to read it. She means it as a compliment, and so do I, very much, in the last passage that I quote.


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