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The Idiot (Hardback)
  • The Idiot (Hardback)
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The Idiot (Hardback)

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£16.99 £13.99
Hardback 432 Pages / Published: 01/06/2017
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Longlisted 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, teaches ESL 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. The two conduct a hilarious relationship that culminates with Selin spending the summer teaching English in a Hungarian village and enduring a series of surprising excursions.

Throughout her journeys, 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.

'I loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it.' - Emma Cline

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781910702697
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 705 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 38 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Very funny indeed. The Idiot is the richly observant story of [Selin's] unique and eccentric coming of age.' - Sunday Times

'The whole novel is full of hilarious, brilliant observations about writing, life and crushes.' - Observer 

'It's a novel about being young and stupid that's both wise and clever - and it's a treat.' - Evening Standard 

'Each paragraph is a small anthology of well-made observations... Batuman has a rich sense of the details of human attachment and lust.' - New York Times 

'Beautifully written... a wry, funny coming-of-age story set at the dawn of email among a group of Harvard brainiacs too nerdy and self-involved to even think about sex, drugs and drinking.' - Daily Mail 

'Often wonderful, frequently hilarious... full of zingy one-liners and arch, deflationary observations about the absurdities of academia and adolescence...' - Financial Times 

'Rambling, ramshackle, erudite; full of careless charm... Her jokes are one of this book's great joys.' - Daily Telegraph

'The Idiot is an affectionate portrait of first love in all its bumbling haplessness, and a playful celebration of the power and limitations of language.' - Literary Review 

'Generously capacious... The triumph of Batuman's book is to make this period of youth matter.' - Guardian 

'The Idiot is beautiful in every passage, in every turn of the phrase, and full of wry observations that make you feel as if you've never really seen the world.' - Stylist 

'Batuman captures the amplified, airless banality of the 1990s with flip sentences... Light-hearted but of high quality, it falls into the loafing abroad, goofing and self-knowing genre.' - Spectator 

'One of the funniest and most inventive youngish writers of non-fiction in America...'  -

'I loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it. It presented this almost moment-by-moment experience of life, in a way that I just felt Batuman had so much control. There's so much wit and pleasure in her writing you feel very comfortable being in the world she's created.' - Emma Cline

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Reviews

View all

“Being young and hopelessly in love....”

Elif Batuman has written a very funny account of being young and clueless about life and love.

Her humour comes across quite strong when she is talking about different cultures and languages.her style and... More

Hardback edition
8th May 2017
Helpful? Upvote 103

“Interesting but a bit naive?”

I was immediately gripped by this, and I'm glad I read it. I loved the doubting, questioning and interrogating of meaning and language and what we say and what we mean. However, I felt a little as though it was... More

Hardback edition
14th May 2017
Helpful? Upvote 25
Laura Gillespie

“Ploddingly Hilarious”

A bit of slower pace than I'm used to, but I genuinely laughed out loud - several times. It just kept catching me off guard.

Hardback edition
19th July 2017
Helpful? Upvote 14

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