Philip Roth is not dead. He is alive and well within the story and writing of Asymmetry. One of the main characters looks and acts a lot like the late Roth and it's obvious Halliday was influenced by the greatest author of the last 50 years. It is incredible and thought-provoking how first-time author Halliday connects the first and second half of her novel together as she tells two very different stories. After reading the first half, describing a young woman and her affair with an older well-known Jewish author, it was exciting to think through how it connected to the second story of an Iraqi American trying to get through customs at the London airport. This book had me hooked! Recommended By Jeffrey J., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling and critically acclaimed debut novel by Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry, 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.
"Exquisite...For us, the ride is in surrendering to falling down rabbit holes to unknown places. The moment Asymmetry reaches its perfect ending, it’s all the reader can do to return to the beginning in awe, to discover how Halliday upturned the story again and again." The Washington Post
"Masterly...As you uncover the points of congruence, so too do you uncover Halliday’s beautiful argument about the pleasure and obligations of fiction...It feels as if the issues she has raised — both explicitly and with the book’s canny structure — have sown seeds that fiction will harvest for years to come." "The New Vanguard," The New York Times Book Review
“Asymmetry is extraordinary, and the timing of its publication seems almost like a feat of civics. . . .Halliday’s prose is so strange and startingly smart that its mere existence seems like commentary on the state of fiction. . . . It’s a first novel that reads like the work of an author who has published many books over many years. . . . Halliday has written, somehow all at once, a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas and a politically engaged work of metafiction.” Alice Gregory, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Lisa Halliday grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts and currently lives in Milan, Italy. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review and she is the recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award for Fiction. Asymmetry is her first novel.