André Aciman

Charles Shafaieh meets the Proust scholar who wrote Call Me By Your Name.

Both in conversation and through his work, André Aciman upholds writing as a serious undertaking. Being careless with words almost inevitably produces what he abhors: prose that doesn’t seek to do any more than provide information.

Grasping Aciman’s attention to precise diction and a sentence’s cadence requires only reading a page of his many essays, his memoir of childhood in Alexandria, Egypt, or his fiction—including his 2007 debut novel, Call Me By Your Name, which last year was made into an Oscar-winning film.

Take this passage from Lavender, an essay which expands from a meditation on his father’s cologne to the themes of displacement, absence, desire and longing that run through Aciman’s writing: “For all I know, everything could start all over again… the life w...

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