“Call Me by Your Name” author André Aciman is currently making the press rounds in support of his new book “Find Me,” a sequel to his beloved 2007 gay romance novel. While the new book once again picks up the stories of Elio and Oliver several years after the events of “Call Me by Your Name,” it spends a considerable amount of time on Elio’s father, Samuel Perlman. In an interview with GQ, Acemin was asked about Samuel’s legendary monologue at the end of “Call Me by Your Name,” which gained breakout popularity among cinephiles thanks to Michael Stuhlbarg’s inspired rendition of the speech in Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning adaptation.
“When you least expect it, nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot,” Samuel tells his heartbroken son Elio. “Just remember: I am here. Right now, you may not want to feel anything — maybe you never wished to feel anything and maybe it’s not to me that you’ll want to speak about these things. But feel something, you obviously did.”
“You had a beautiful friendship,” Elio’s father continues. “Maybe more than a friendship, and I envy you…I’ll say one more thing. It’ll clear the air: I may have come close, but I never had what you two have. Something always held me back, or stood in the way. How you live your life is your business.”
When Elio asks his father if his mother knows, Samuel responds, “I don’t think she does.” Since the 2017 release of the “Call Me by Your Name” movie, fans have interpreted Samuel’s monologue as his own coming out to his son. Samuel does not explicitly say he had a relationship with a man like Elio did with Oliver, but Stuhlbarg’s interpretation of the monologue contains shades that had many fans wondering. Aciman tells GQ that is not the case, or at least not what he intended in the books (the monologue in the film is pretty much lifted verbatim from the book).
“This was not at all my intention when I wrote the book,” Aciman said. “The movie has basically validated that particular approach. And I have to say that I can see that this is equally a valid approach to the father’s speech. The father may have been attracted to men or not, we don’t know from the book. From the movie, you have every right to infer that. But not in the book. So when he splits with his wife [in the sequel], he’s not splitting because he has homosexual tendencies, but simply because something must have gone wrong in their marriage.”
Aciman’s sequel novel “Find Me” is now available to purchase.