Catching up with one-time lovers Elio and Oliver is not, from its outset, the obvious intent of Find Me, André Aciman's hotly anticipated sequel to Call Me by Your Name, which was adapted into a popular film in 2017. Instead, this second novel chooses Elio's father, Samuel, as its reentry point into heady affairs that span tantalizing European settings. It's a decade later, and Samuel is on a train to Rome to visit his son, a professional musician, when he meets Miranda, a striking woman much younger than he. Dissatisfied with the ways love has mistreated them in the past, they bond quickly and deeply, rushing through confessions of insecurity and failings (including Samuel's marriage) into a naked, earnest hope for what could lie ahead for them both.
As a result, when Elio meets the couple the following day, he sees "a man in love. I've never seen you like this. It makes me very happy." From here, the novel picks up with Elio, years farther down the line, establishing an episodic flow reminiscent of its immediate predecessor, Enigma Variations. Still a brilliant pianist, now living in Paris, he becomes entwined with a much older man, Michel, who delights in him endlessly.
Aciman had his work cut out for himself in crafting a sequel as contemplative and gorgeous as Call Me by Your Name, which ended in its own coda of Elio's and Oliver's paths crossing years and years hence. Threading that needle, Aciman expertly delays readers' gratification. Oliver does resurface in time, but his haunting absence throughout much of the novel leaves room to explore the maturing resonance of youthful desires deferred. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness