THE IDIOT BOOK REVIEW
THE IDIOT BOOK REVIEW
BY elif batuman ‧ RELEASE DATE: march. 14, 2017
A sweetly harsh first novel from an author whose work has showed up in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and n+1.
It’s fall 1995, and Selin is simply beginning her first year at Harvard. One of the primary things she learns after showing up at her new school is that she has an email account. Her location contains her last name, “Karada?, however all lowercase, and without the Turkish ?, which was quiet.” When given an Internet cable, she asks “What do we do with this, hang ourselves?” All of this happens on the main page of Batuman’s (The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, 2011) debut novel, and it reveals to us pretty much all that we have to think about the writer’s topical concerns and style. Selin’s dearest companions at Harvard are Ralph, a strangely attractive youngster with a Kennedy fixation, and Svetlana, a Serbian from Connecticut. Selin’s first sentimental snare—which starts by means of electronic mail—is with Ivan, a Hungarian mathematician she meets in Russian class. Selin contemplates semantics and writing, shows ESL, and invests a great deal of energy considering what language—and dialects—can and can’t do. This isn’t simply bloodless philosophizing, however. Selin is, in addition to other things, a young lady attempting to sort out very similar things youngsters are continually attempting to sort out. Also, as it occurs, Selin is magnificent organization. She’s brilliant enough to know the manners by which she is imbecilic, and her messed up relationship to her general surroundings is life-changing and, regularly, stringently clever. For instance, this is the means by which she portrays a specific phonetics class: “we found out about individuals who had lost the capacity to join morphemes, subsequent to having their minds punctured by iron posts. Obviously there were a few such individuals, who stalled out in their minds and lived to tell the story—but without morphemes.” Some perusers may get eager with the moderate movement of the account, which feels more like an assortment of associated microfictions than a conventional novel, yet perusers who are happy to go with Selin at her own insightful movement will be thankful that they did.
Pub Date: March 14, 2017
Page Count: 432
Classifications: LITERARY FICTION