by Lisa Halliday
Pub Date 01 Mar 2018
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Asymmetry is a provocative next chapter of ‘The Great American Novel’, and the arrival of a supreme new talent.
This is a novel of three parts. It begins with an affair between Alice and a much older man – the celebrated writer, Ezra Blazer. It then shifts from this tale of literary New York to a small room at Heathrow Airport and the first person account of Amar, an Iraqi-American economist en route to Kurdistan. While detained for a day in London, the young man remembers his life to date and considers his options for the future. The asymmetrical third act returns to Ezra Blazer and his interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
As these narratives intersect and overlap, the initial love story transforms into a novel that makes entirely vivid all the imbalances and inequities of modern, global interconnected life. A book of profound empathy, formal daring and political power, Asymmetry marks the arrival of an assured artist capable of beguiling and surprising on every page.
“Asymmetry is an amazing piece of work … funny, sad, deeply humane. One can only hope
that something this good will find as wide an audience as it so obviously deserves.”
Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
Halliday's debut novel starts like a story you've heard, only to become a book
unlike any you've read. Asymmetry is a profoundly political
novel about the place for art in an unjust world.”
Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding
“Impossible to put down, and to pin down … she has written a bold, elegant examination of the dynamics of love, power, ambition and the ways we try to find our place in the world.”
From the Whiting Award citation given to Lisa Halliday for Asymmetry.
Previous winners have included Colson Whitehead and Jeffrey Eugenides