"An addictive, sprawling epic; I wolfed it down.” —Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man and It Chooses You
“Easily the funniest book I’ve read this year.” —GQ
A 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's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything 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 Idiot is 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.
Named one the best books of the year by Refinery29 • Mashable One • Elle Magazine• The New York Times • Bookpage • Vogue• NPR • Buzzfeed •The Millions
Elif Batuman has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010. She is the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and a Paris Review Terry Southern Prize for Humor, she also holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. The Idiot is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
The Idiot 3 out of 5based on
9 months ago
This book is wonderfully written and a great pleasure to read. However, I really, really hope there is a sequel that begins with a too-long postponed consummation. Or perhaps that was the point of the title, for the reader to be left with this final thought about the narrator - "You idiot! Just jump his bones and get it over with. It's not that complicated!"
Batuman is an excellent writer and I look forward to her future books.
More than 1 year ago
On my device, this book appears to have 339 pages. At page 39, my interest is not piqued, whatsoever. I do not believe the reviews coincide with the substance.
IT ONLY GETS AWESOMER Neil Pasricha of 1000awesomethings.com presents a brand-new collection of things that
make you go AWESOME!... When a baby falls asleep on you The first couple hours of the road trip The smell of Play-Doh The sound ...
From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over
and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime. ...
Named a Best Book of the Year by the Seattle Times and Kirkus ReviewThe final
novel from a great American storyteller.Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved ...
From the celebrated author of the bestselling Lazarus Project a dazzling collection of stories ...
further cementing [Hemon's] position among the finest fiction writers working in English (GQ). The stories of Aleksandar Hemon's Love and Obstacles are united by their ...
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALISTNBCC JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FINALISTONE OF THE NEW
YORK TIMES'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST’S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017ONE OF NPR’S ‘GREAT READS’ OF 2017A USA TODAY BEST ...
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA tantalizing mystery and a tender coming-of-age ... the summer
of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by ...
Netochka Nezvanova - a 'Nameless Nobody' - tells the story of a childhood dominated by
her stepfather, Efimov, a failed musician who believes he is a neglected genius. The young girl is strangely drawn to this drunken ruin of a ...
Langston Hughes was one of the best-known poets in modern America and his first novel,
Not Without Laughter, is undoubtedly his finest prose. A classic of African-American literature, it is the poignant story of a young black boy's awakening to ...