A Giveaway: “Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday

This is one of the Best Books of the Year, according to The New York Times critics. And  I’m giving it away to anyone willing to reimburse me for the postage!

Halliday writes beautifully, and yet I found Asymmetry gimmicky.   It consists of two novellas, the first about Alice, a twenty-something wannabe writer who has an affair with Ezra Blazer, a famous American writer in his seventies. Coincidentally,  Halliday in her twenties had an affair with seventyish Philip Roth.  Every reviewer gossips about this, so I assume the tittle-tattle was part of the publicity package.

As a Second Wave feminist, I eventually tired of Alice and Ezra.    It’s not that women who f— their way to fame don’t have talent, but it’s the f– part that cements the deal.  Fortunately, in the second novella, “Madness,” Halliday  casts aside  Alice and Ezra to delineate a truly interesting character, Amar, an upper-middle-class  Iraqi-American researcher who is detained at Heathrow Airport in London on the way to Iraq.  This is the truly brilliant part of this novel.

Alas, in the final section Ezra is back!  He gives an interview on a BBC radio show,  “Desert Island Discs.”   And, not surprisingly,  Ezra mentions an interesting young writer he is helping.  Just as we thought, Alice has benefited from Ezra’s patronage.

Somebody will love this novel, but I want it out of my  house!  When will women get out from under men?

How I miss Second Wave feminism!

The book is beautifully written and critically acclaimed.  Leave a comment or email me at mirabiledictu.org@gmail.com if you want the book.

4 thoughts on “A Giveaway: “Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday”

  1. Not putting this on my list but I wanted to thank you for the Allende you recommended. Would you believe it’s the first of hers that I’ve read? It was very good and I might try Doctor Zhivago soon.

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    1. Oh, I love Allende! She is much better than Halliday. Some of her books are masterpieces, and even the least are better than average. I’m waiting for snow to get out my wintry Russian novels, and Dr. Zhivago is good because there are also two films we can watch. 🙂

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  2. I’ve heard so much praise for this novel that it’s refreshing to come across another point of view. If I come across a library copy I might give it a go, but I don’t think I’m parting with hard earned cash for it!

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    1. Well, I was crazy about it when I started but by the end had changed my mind. She doesn’t really write that much: the first 100 pages are filled with long passages from books the old man recommends, and though this seems powerful, later I realized, Oh, I’m reacting to the writers of classics! Anyway, after reading my cynical thoughts you may be pleasantly surprised by this! But I don’t honestly think it’s that great.

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