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The Idiot

by Elif Batuman - £8.99  Vintage Publishing (2018)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780099583172 | ISBN 10: 0099583178

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018
 
Selin, a tall, highly strung Turkish-American from New Jersey turns up at Harvard and finds herself dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood. She studies linguistics and literature, and spends a lot of time thinking about what language – and languages – can and cannot do. Along the way she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary.
 
Selin ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape who we are, how difficult it is to be a failed writer, and how baffling love is. At once clever and clueless, Batuman’s heroine shows us with perfect hilarity and soulful inquisitiveness just how messy it can be to forge a self.

(Price & availability last checked: April 2018)

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