NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY * Elle * Bustle * Kirkus Reviews * Lit Hub* NPR * O, The Oprah Magazine * Shelf Awareness
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday 271 pages
What’s it about?
This book is divided into three distinct sections. In “Folly” we meet Alice and Ezra. Alice is a young assistant editor living in New York City. She meets the much older Ezra at the park one afternoon and immediately recognizes him as a well known award-winning writer. This section of the book is about their relationship. The next section “Madness” is narrated by Amar. Amar is an Iraqi born American who is on his way to visit his brother in Kurdistan in 2008. When he arrives in London for a 48 hour stopover he is detained at Heathrow for the weekend. The last section is an interview with Ezra a few years after his relationship with Alice has ended. Some loose ends are tied up and the connection between the stories makes more sense after reading the interview.
What did it make me think about?
Can we ever see past our own particular perspective?
Should I read it?
The structure of this book is really different than most novels. I liked the way Lisa Halliday wrote her characters and I found the stories easy to read. What takes some thought is what the collection means as a whole. I would put this book down as thought provoking. Probably not a book for those looking for easy entertainment, but for literature fans this one is a treat.
“ The more you learn, thought Alice, the more you realize how little you know.”
“There’s an old saying, he said, about how the foreign journalist who travels to the Middle East and stays a week goes home to write a book in which he presents a pat solution to all of its problems. If he stays a month, he writes a magazine or newspaper article filled with ‘ifs’, ‘buts’, and ‘on the other hands’. If he stays a year, he writes nothing at all.”
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