A Novel

Large Print - 2019
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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."-- From Amazon.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Wheeler Publishing, 2019.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018.
ISBN: 9781432866631
Characteristics: 425 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


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Apr 26, 2019

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, Winner of the Whiting Award n 2017. Nothing short of a literary phenomenon, a book so well crafted and powerful that every word has to be weighed gently, like a tiny bird in the palm of your hand. It could easily be taken as a biographical memoir, as the author has easily admitted that the roots of the relationship depicted in the book are based on her own doomed affair with Philip Roth when she was a young editorial assistant in New York, But it is not enough to view the book simply as that. This is not a memoir, but rather the progression of a young author under a questionable mentorship in which she evolves to create her own literary voice, exceptional and completely asymmetrical to the relationship between herself and her lover. In short, she is the apprentice who has created her own masterpiece, and even though his intentions are to stifle that literary genius, she is able to move forward and become the creator, rather than the created. Her own story is asymmetrical to her own existence, a thwarted "looking glass" in which she tries, with triumph in many aspects, to reflect an existence that is completly foreign to her own, but she is able to sustain it. The second portion of the book is her own story that she, the protagonist of the first section writes. She tries to picture a life of an Iraqi American who has been detained at UK airport, and assimilates herself into a diversely different world. The dichotomy then becomes asymmetrical to her doomed mentorship, and that of the violence and despair of the East vs West in our troubled world. A powerful, troubling but glorious book which reflects us, in so many Carollian ways, and keeps the characters reticient, but potent enough that we understand who they are and where they are going. In doing so, we begin to understand a little more about ourselves and our own asymmetrical lives.

Apr 06, 2019

Halliday is a wise creative writer. I found following this story a bit challenging. When able to engage w/ the diverse characters, the book became more meaningful. For me it was a stretch and took more effort to read/connect the dots than I had to give for full appreciation.

Mar 15, 2019

NYT 10 Best 2018

Mar 11, 2019

Well, damn! I guess midway through my ninth decade I've learned I have no feel for innovative fiction (if I had any prior).
I would love to say I see the connection between 'Folly' & 'Madness' but I don't.
I loved the Alice/Ezra story. The Amar tale seemed jerky band out of sorts to me.
Ah well...

Mar 11, 2019

Loved it

Jan 30, 2019

A beautifully written book. Amazing to think that this is Lisa Halliday's first novel. It's not a typical novel in its form. There are two very different sections focusing on two different stories. They seem unrelated, but of course, they are not. I'm thinking that the message is that our actions have consequences. Planes flying into towers affect the future lives of people in New York and Baghdad and many other parts of the world for decades. We are all connected, although we pretend that we aren't. I don't know.

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

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Jun 04, 2018

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

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