A Novel

Book - 2018
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"Told in three distinct and uniquely compelling sections, Asymmetry explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice. The first section, "Folly," tells the story of Alice, a young American editor, and her relationship with the famous and much older writer Ezra Blazer. A tender and exquisite account of an unexpected romance that takes place in New York during the early years of the Iraq War, "Folly" also suggests an aspiring novelist's coming-of-age. By contrast, "Madness" is narrated by Amar, an Iraqi-American man who, on his way to visit his brother in Kurdistan, is detained by immigration officers and spends the last weekend of 2008 in a holding room in Heathrow. These two seemingly disparate stories gain resonance as their perspectives interact and overlap, with yet new implications for their relationship revealed in an unexpected coda. A stunning debut from a rising literary star, Asymmetry is an urgent, important, and truly original work that will captivate any reader while also posing arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself. A debut novel about love, luck, and the inextricability of life and art, from 2017 Whiting Award winner Lisa Halliday" -- From Amazon.
Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, 2018
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501166761
Branch Call Number: FICTION HALLIDAY 2018
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 23 cm


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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 17, 2019

Uniquely structured, these 3 loosely connected stories won’t be for everyone. This one will stick with me for a while as the resonances between the stories continue to sink in. Interesting.

Jan 05, 2019

Obama's List

Dec 29, 2018

On Barack Obama's Top Books of 2018

Nov 30, 2018

NYT Best 10 Books

Nov 28, 2018

Intriguing book; and especially so with Philip Roth's recent death. Really well written and you want to think it's all true (she did have a relationship with Roth). The second part of the book- a seemingly unrelated story, is also totally engrossing but then leaves you feeling that it's a little contrived. Overall really liked.

Nov 18, 2018

A memorable sentence in the "Folly" section helped me guess early on the connection to the "Madness" section. I have been struck by how many online commenters have finished the book without seeing the connection, (there is also a clue in the final section). Is that the fault of readers, or is the writer failing to connect clearly? Since Alice is the focus of the first section I think the novel would have been stronger if she, rather than Ezra, had been the focus of the final section.

Sep 04, 2018

I really enjoyed reading this clever book. Halliday reveals in an interview with the NY Times that she had a romantic relationship with Philip Roth when she was a young editor, which makes the first of the three parts of the book intriguing. In the coda, the reader learns about the second novella from an interview with the older writer. Recommended.

Jul 13, 2018

"This is because politics in imaginative work is like a shot in the middle of a concert. The noise is deafening but it imparts no energy." A woman gets involved with an older writer. An economist is detained at the airport. Year later, the writer is interviewed by the BBC. These are the three stories/sections that make of "Asymmetry," the celebrated the debut novel From Lisa Halliday. I went into this with high expectations but found the characters flat and the story somewhat hard to get into. Two debut novels that I thought were more compelling: "Neon in Daylight" and "Conversations with Friends."

Mar 18, 2018

The first part of the book is interesting for awhile. The second section relates to a completely different topic, and I supposer represents the asymmetry of the title. In other words, while the mundane is happening others are trapped in a Kafka-esque struggle brought on by American's conflict with the Middle East and its religions. Then in part three we return to one of the characters of the first section, for more banality. Meh.


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Jun 04, 2018

Two stories only connected at the abstract level. Beautiful language.


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