A TIME and NEW YORK TIMES TOP 10 BOOK of the YEAR * New York Times Notable Book and Times Critic’s Top Book of 2018
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY * Elle * Bustle * Kirkus Reviews * Lit Hub* NPR * O, The Oprah Magazine * Shelf Awareness
The bestselling and critically acclaimed debut novel by Lisa Halliday, hailed as “extraordinary” by The New York Times, “a brilliant and complex examination of power dynamics in love and war” by The Wall Street Journal, and “a literary phenomenon” by The New Yorker.
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 “a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas, and a politically engaged work of metafiction” (The New York Times Book Review), and a “masterpiece” in the original sense of the word” (The Atlantic). Lisa Halliday’s novel will captivate any reader with while also posing arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Lisa Halliday’s lauded debut novel—one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2018—is a kaleidoscopic literary adventure in two parts. Part one follows the relationship between a famous novelist and his significantly younger lover, a guileless editorial assistant at a major book publisher; part two mines the memories of an Iraqi American man detained at Heathrow Airport. These stories unfold as a patchwork of flashbulb-quick scenes, cultural asides, and disparate plot lines that dart and weave together before eventually forming a satisfying whole. Elegantly and daringly constructed, Asymmetry is a brilliant, often very funny examination of identity and self-awareness.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Loved the bread, filling made me queasy
Once you realize why the middle section is so mediocre, it becomes bearable, slightly.
Many many many words that eventually went nowhere. Occasional needless shocking descriptive passages. Line item summaries of the events described might take 2 pages and in succession they would be of no lasting value.