The Idiot

The Idiot

Book - 2017
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"A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself. The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer."--
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2017.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781594205613
Branch Call Number: BATUM
Characteristics: 423 pages ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Idiot : a novel


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Jul 12, 2018

I really liked this book. It’s a coming of age story, which is a genre I very much favour. It was amazingly low key, drawn out and a slow burn. That to me cleverly evoked that feeling of when you are drawn to someone and you feel a common burn but it doesn’t necessarily go any further or for whatever reason you are not destined to be together, but the slow burn of unspoken mutual attraction is delightful in itself.

Apr 14, 2018

I could just not become interested in an 18 year old at Harvard in the 1990s.

Aug 24, 2017

Hilarious moments throughout novel. It reminded me of my adolescence and captures how ridiculous that age is.

athompson10 Aug 15, 2017

Lots and lots of wandering and indecision in the minute detailing of a young American of Turkish descent's freshman year at Harvard. Here and there bits were laugh-out-loud funny, but overall I just couldn't muster much sympathy for the narrator. [Editing to add:] Imagine spending a year with an 18-year-old who's both self-absorbed and not at all self-aware. She obsesses about language, math and philosophy (thank you, freshman core corriculum) while making stupid decisions about a guy. I ran out of patience with her and the story long before I finished it.

ArapahoeAlison Jun 12, 2017

This book is brilliant and hilarious. I loved the deadpan voice of the main character Selin and her absurdist observations. She struggles with coming of age and her first major crush in her first year at Harvard College.

cals_joe Mar 16, 2017

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