Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name Character List


Elio is a precocious 17-year-old boy who spends summers at his family's villa on the Italian Riviera. His father is an academic, and he has been raised to be exceptionally literate, able to converse on a variety of humanistic topics. He spends his free time reading books, playing tennis, jogging, and transcribing music. Elio is very introverted: he's a shy person and a passionate thinker. He is also insecure, mainly about being Jewish in a Catholic country, his sexuality, and his romantic feelings toward Oliver. Because of this, he spends much of the first half of the novel analyzing his feelings toward Oliver and reading into all of Oliver's words and actions, taking a long time to confess his true feelings to him. His attraction towards Oliver is obsessive and sublime, and after his time having sex with him, this grows into a deep love that lasts for the rest of his life. Though he doesn't identify himself or his sexuality by any label, Oliver is romantically and sexually attracted to both men and women.


Oliver is an intelligent and handsome 24-year-old Jewish-American scholar, nicknamed "il cauboi" (the cowboy) and "la muvi star" (the movie star) by Elio's mother because of his charm and Americanisms. He is well-liked by all the residents and neighbors of the villa. Oliver enjoys jogging, reading, swimming, and sunbathing. He arrives at Elio's villa one summer to spend six weeks revising a post-doctoral manuscript with Elio's father. His academic specialty is pre-Socratic philosophy. Oliver is carefree and confident: as Elio notices, he was always "okay with so many things in his life," including being Jewish. He is an expert at reading people, and he detects that Elio has feelings for him but pretends not to notice in order to avoid hurting his feelings and getting his own feelings entangled. His seemingly cold and indifferent demeanor is a front for an incredibly shy interior. Oliver, like Elio, is also sexually and romantically attracted to both men and women. By the end of the novel, despite marrying a woman and fathering two sons, he demonstrates that he still deeply cares about Elio and his memories with him.


Vimini is a 10-year-old girl who lived in one of the villas near Elio's. She's said to have a “genius-level IQ." However, she's leukemic and her days are numbered. Despite this, she has a good sense of humor and a positive attitude. After meeting Oliver, the two develop a warm friendship, which Elio admires. Oliver leaves Italy without saying goodbye to Vimini, so he sends her a Christmas present from the United States. Oliver is deeply saddened after her death, years after his summer at the villa.

Elio's father

Elio’s father is a shy, reserved academic, much like his son. Despite his shyness, he enjoys the company of several guests at lunch or dinner for intellectual conversation. Every summer, he and his wife host a fellow at their villa on the Italian Riviera. He works closely with the fellow to help them revise a manuscript for publication, and the fellow, in turn, helps him with his own work. He not only cares about the fellow's academic work: he also makes a point to provide the fellow with a cultural and social education while living at the villa. Elio's father gets along very well with Oliver and finds him an impressive fellow. He knows about the affair between Elio and Oliver but does not reveal this knowledge to Elio until after Oliver's departure.


Marzia is a neighbor close to Elio in age. Elio sometimes calls her out on dates, particularly when he wishes to get his mind off of his frustrated desire for Oliver. He nonetheless enjoys her company. She is interested in Elio, but she can see through his niceties and therefore understands that he isn't interested in her more than casually. She resents Elio, but she remains friends with him. The two share a casual sexual relationship throughout the novel until Elio begins his romance with Oliver.


Mafalda is the middle-aged housekeeper at the villa. She's characterized by her friendliness, helpfulness, and acerbic wit. Mafalda is very good at reading Elio's body language, and Elio wonders if she can detect his obsession with Oliver. Although she can detect that something bothers Elio, she never pries or asks him why. When Oliver leaves the villa, she sympathizes with Elio's sadness.


The groundskeeper of the villa. Anchise tends to an orchard of grafted peach trees, which he is very proud of. He also likes to fish, and on occasion takes Oliver out on fishing trips. Other characters sometimes perceive Anchise to be creepy or unlikeable, but he never shows any sign of unfriendliness or commits any action which would merit that judgment. Elio's father defends him, saying "that creep has a heart of gold."


Manfredi is Mafalda's husband. He sometimes bickers with Anchise about the way he chooses to grow tomatoes or other trivial matters. Manfredi, like his wife, also helps around the house. Like Mafalda and Anchise, he is Neapolitan, and he remembers a style of Italian life long gone.


Chiara is a neighbor of Elio's who becomes smitten with Oliver and develops a casual relationship with him that Elio presumes is sexual in nature. She goes on a number of dates with Oliver, but Oliver later admits that he isn't interested in her more than casually.

The Poet

Elio first meets the poet central to the third chapter of the novel when he takes Marzia out on a date in B. and runs into him at the bookstore. Although the store is celebrating the release of his book of poetry, and Elio asks him to inscribe two copies, he knows better than to let this inflate his ego or play the role of a renowned poet. In Rome, he's at the heart of a festive book party and takes his group of friends out to dinner, where he entertains them with a story of traveling to Thailand and his concept of the 'San Clemente Syndrome'.