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Publisher's Summary

A singularly inventive and unforgettable debut novel about love, luck, and the inextricability of life and art, from 2017 Whiting Award winner Lisa Halliday.

Told in three distinct and uniquely compelling sections, Asymmetry explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice. The first section, "Folly", tells the story of Alice, a young American editor, and her relationship with the famous and much older writer Ezra Blazer. A tender and exquisite account of an unexpected romance that takes place in New York during the early years of the Iraq War, "Folly" also suggests an aspiring novelist's coming-of-age. By contrast, "Madness" is narrated by Amar, an Iraqi-American man who, on his way to visit his brother in Kurdistan, is detained by immigration officers and spends the last weekend of 2008 in a holding room in Heathrow. These two seemingly disparate stories gain resonance as their perspectives interact and overlap, with yet new implications for their relationship revealed in an unexpected coda.

A stunning debut from a rising literary star, Asymmetry is an urgent, important, and truly original work that will captivate any listener while also posing arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself.

©2018 Lisa Halliday (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Unsatisfying

This novel, though well-written, is divided into three parts, and each part is tedious in a different way. I kept going with it because I was hoping the stories would link up, but they never did. The third part is very short — only two chapters — and by then I understood that I would not be satisfied; however, having gone so far I decided to stick with it to the end. I often like books that are well-written in which nothing much happens, but this one felt like a tease the whole way, which for me was unpleasant.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • United States
  • 02-23-18

Loved it.

Just finished it. Writing superb. Thought-provoking. Funny. Characters so expertly fully fleshed out. Planning to read it/listen to it again.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This is not a fair review. Doesn’t work in audio format.

I think this may be the first review I wrote before I finished a book. I love the story premise and am very intrigued but I cannot follow the audio and it’s even linear. It jumps in time and place with such suddenness I get totally confused and lost. My guess is that the written book has line breaks or something to indicate this and it just doesn’t work in audio. Sadly, I’m going to have to return it.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

great book

This is a wonderful book told by three different people. Each section is a story on to itself though there seems to be a link between the 3. I especially liked the middle section which is about a young man stuck in the London Airport because of his origins. The narrator has a beautifully modulated voice and his story is heart wrenching without being maudlin.

The first and third sections are also quite good though I found those two stories (which are more closely linked than the 2nd) of less interest. The first is about a young woman's affair with a well known writer who is much older than she is. Some of the descriptive passages are quite beautiful and it is not hard, on some level, to sympathize with the protagonist's sense of futility
and loneliness but it doesn't have the same relevance as the 2nd section.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible, painful, pointless

Wow. This was the biggest disappointment. And the narrator is TERRIBLE. Her voice is so annoying, especially when she does Ezra’s voice. It was physically painful to listen to. Sad I wasted my credit on this pointless and boring book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Leaving a Doll's House, again

This novel was powerful, quiet, and more than the sum of its parts. I enjoyed it more knowing some of the biographical background for the first section. As another reviewer noted, the first part can be hard to follow because of the insertion of other texts and perspectives (and maybe the narrator could have offset these sections better), but you'll figure it out all right. It took me a couple of hours to get into this novel, but it was worth it.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Asymmetry

At the end, this listener is at loose ends. Did I miss something? We abruptly leave young Mary Alice who works for a publishing house and her prize winning author Ezra as he lies in a hospital bed. He challenges her to stay with him and take the risk of loving him til the end. Abruptly, we join a family who returns to their native Iraq engaged in healing its gunshot wounds and loss of self governance. Both are intriguing stories, but asymmetrical. Good read, for the reader to takes the risk. I am glad I did.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I don’t get it

I’ve seen reviews that say 2 unrelated stories are brought together amazingly by a final coda. I have a degree in Literature. Reading this book and reviewing it in an academic scope I can see it has merit, but, to me, the best literature doesn’t have to be examined and over-explained by experts in order to be understood. It should be accessible.

This is 2 really good short stories and some epilogue that makes little sense. They both suck you in before you know it. They are very well written, engrossing and deliberate In how the stories are told and what parts of the character’s stories are told.

Decent stories as 2 short stories, unfortunately, to really understand the “asymmetry” of the story you have to have a degree in Literature.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Symetry

A true love story, complex and complete. The best characters, it will truly leave you with much to think about! One of my 10 favorite books of all time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

I'm waiting for her second book. This one is awesome and seems to be designed for audio.