The Idiot

By | March 10, 2018
The Idiot Author Elif Batuman
ISBN-10 1594205612
ISBN-13 9781594205613
Year 2017-03-14
Pages 432
Language English
Publisher Penguin Press
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An addictive sprawling epic I wolfed it down Miranda July author ofThe First Bad ManandIt Chooses YouEasily the funniest book Ive read this year GQA portrait of the artist as a young woman A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself The year is 1995 and email is new Selin the daughter of Turkish immigrants arrives for her freshman year at Harvard She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate Svetlana and almost by accident begins corresponding with Ivan an older mathematics student from Hungary Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan but with each email they exchange the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings At the end of the school year Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan s friends On the way she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana Selin ssummer in Europe does not resonate withanything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students or indeed of any other kinds of people For Selin this is a journey further inside herself a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity mordant wit and pitch perfect style Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself The Idiotis a heroic yet self effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting Batuman s fiction is unguarded against both life s affronts and its beauty and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail

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