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Asymmetry
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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 reader while also posing arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself.
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review
Megabooks
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

This reads more as two separate novellas where the characters have asymmetrical relationships. The first is an older famous author who meets a much younger woman. Their relationship slides from romantic to caretaker as the story moves along. The other novella explores an Iraqi-American traveler stopped at Heathrow and detained. There is no link between the two. However, if you like short fiction and reflective stories, I highly recommend this!

sarahbarnes I‘ve been curious about this one! 1y
plemmdog I liked it. I‘m told the “older esteemed author” was supposedly based on Philip Roth 1y
Hooked_on_books I approached this with trepidation but ended up liking it a lot! I‘m glad you enjoyed it, too. 1y
See All 11 Comments
Megabooks @sarahbarnes I‘d for sure recommend it. 👍🏻 1y
Megabooks @plemmdog I can see that. 1y
Megabooks @Hooked_on_books I‘m so glad @BarbaraBB gave it to me because it might have languished on my TBR. Solid book! 1y
BarbaraBB I am glad you liked it. I supposed so when I did read about it but then found many mixed reviews on Litsy 😅😘 1y
Cinfhen Hmmmm, now I‘m intrigued 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen yeah, it was really good! 1y
Cinfhen I‘ll look for it #BorrowNotBuy 😍 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen 👍🏻 1y
85 likes1 stack add11 comments
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SqueakyChu
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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This must have been quite a performance! 😳

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SqueakyChu
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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This line made me sad. I‘m still trying to decide if I like this story or not.

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SqueakyChu
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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I‘m going in blind on this book so I‘m not sure what to expect. I hope it‘s good.

SamAnne Loved this one. 1y
SqueakyChu This one was not for me. I bailed on page 110 because this story was so disjointed. I wanted to read a more linear story, one that did not go off into a million tangents. 1y
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KarenUK
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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#alphastack

I‘ve been following the above tag on Instagram for a while, so I thought it‘d give it a go and post it here on Litsy too....

Here‘s my ‘A‘ stack..... books beginning with ‘A‘ I loved, and also 1 from my TBR (the tagged book) that seems to be a Marmite kind of book.... Love it hate it, there‘s no in between! 🤷‍♀️
📚📚📚📚📚📚

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Butterfinger
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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#ISpy @BarbaraTheBibliophage gave me teal.

The picture doesn't look teal. Do you want to play for pink? @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Mtroiano

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Sure? What exactly are we playing? 3y
Butterfinger @Riveted_Reader_Melissa an 'I Spy' game. Find a pink cover. I'm not sure who started it. Maybe, @LibrarianRyan 3y
LibrarianRyan @Butterfinger nope. @HoneyBeeLee started it. I think I just am seen by more people. 3y
43 likes4 comments
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Hooked_on_books
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Structured as two novellas and a short story, I‘m not entirely certain I “got” this novel. To me, it was an exploration of inequality with privilege and frivolity contrasted against hardship and danger. Regardless, I loved it. I think it‘s beautifully written and enjoyed the reading experience immensely.

#dogsofLitsy #Bindi

SamAnne Loved it too. And what a cutie. 3y
42 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BaBaBaBillyAndTheBooks
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Mehso-so

We seek order in life's pandemonium. Governments make laws, partners declare love, and artists write stories, imposing form on life‘s most amorphous parts. Asymmetry‘s chapters are, well, asymmetric, as if from separate novels. And that‘s the point: Characters coexist, but who says their paths must cross? Life, after all, cannot be neatly taken down on a page. But life, truly portrayed, also has a formlessness that‘s not the most exciting read.

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Rjcteacher
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Juxtaposed stories of a younger woman‘s relationship with an older writer (loosely based on the author‘s relationship with Philip Roth) and a young man detained at the airport in London and his life in the US and Iraq. Insightful and subtly moving, the juxtaposition eventually provocative.

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Chelsea.Poole
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Mehso-so

It was ok. I didn't quite catch the interaction between the first two stories because I was pretty bored and could barely pay attention by the end when we "discovered" what was going on. #pass

Ruthiella Yeah, I was hoping for more from the title too. 😕 3y
86 likes1 stack add1 comment
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llawela
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Bailedbailed

Couldn't finish it.
Cold, and maybe too clever for its own good.

LWagoner This was a tough read for me as well...hard to get into and figure out. Maybe that‘s the asymmetry of it all?? 3y
llawela @LWagoner perhaps. Maybe I should have tried the second section, too. But... Onwards! 3y
8 likes2 comments
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llawela
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Last week was about making do.
Wasabi had a frightening cartwheel down the stairs, but was ok except for 2 stitches in the front leg. Hiking was out. As soon as she seemed back to her chaotics, we did some long walks.
I'll call it 2/3 hour long hikes.
Yoga... Back to being disciplined this week. 4/6 yoga's.
Finished 2 books... met my bfc goal.

And from photo above, clearly, "ironing sheets" isn't a goal....

#bookdragons @Hestapleton

Hestapleton Way to work around a crazy week, but I‘m glad Wasabi is back to his crazy, usual self, and you can make your way back to normal. 3y
llawela @Hestapleton "normal". Lol thx 3y
mhillis Wasabi is so cute!! 3y
Caterina Glad Wasabi is okay, and this is such a sweet picture! I'm just dying to pet that sweet head! 😍 3y
8 likes4 comments
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perfectlywinged
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

This is a book that, immediately upon finishing it, made me want to start it again. It's more on the literary side with its stream of conscious prose and subject matter but the characters are so vivid and lovely.

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BennettBookworm
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Help me decide what to read next! Your votes will determine in what order I read these six books, which have been on Mount TBR for too long! 😆 Thank you!!
#makemereadit

wanderinglynn I‘ve only read The Invisible Library, and I found it just okay. Both the Last Equation & the Girl Who Circumnavigated are on my TBR. 4y
LiteraryinLawrence I haven‘t read any but I want to read On the Come Up and Last Equation too! They all look great! 4y
mabell I vote for the two in the middle 😊 4y
See All 14 Comments
Soubhiville On the come up. 4y
glitterkitty459 On the come up!! 4y
Sward7 Pachinko 4y
Reviewsbylola Pachinko!! 4y
39 likes14 comments
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Yuririn
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
Panpan

I didn‘t get the link between the two stories... and it ended up hanging... what is the end of the story?

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MelissaSue81
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Panpan

Guys.. I was so all in on this book in the first section... then the second section I was getting a little confused with the timelines, but it was still holding my interest.. and then I got to the third section and omg.. it was all going to get tied together and make sense.... but then.. it DIDN‘T. I have no idea what the point of this book was and I am so mad about it!

Redwritinghood This one, I think, you hate it or tolerate it. I thought what she was trying to do was clever, but definitely not a straightforward narrative. 4y
54 likes1 comment
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DocBrown
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Panpan

Interesting characters and engaging passages. But this is another one of those books like The Mars Room foisted on the reading public by breathless critics. I don‘t know about anyone else, but story always matters more than pretty or clever words. This added up to a whole lot of nothing. Pass.

BarbaraBB I have this one on my shelves. Now I am not really looking forward to it anymore, since you compare it to the Mars Room, which bored me immensely. 😉 4y
DocBrown @BarbaraBB Not the worst books I‘ve ever read, just the biggest letdown from all the hype. 4y
emmaturi I didn't really enjoy it either! 3y
66 likes3 comments
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cathysaid
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Mehso-so

I don‘t get it 🤷‍♀️

Lovely prose. Some well crafted, poignant passages. But overall, the structure made little sense to me.

I‘m left feeling like there‘s something significant that I am entirely missing. And perhaps it‘s just pride, but I don‘t like that feeling.

Thus, it‘s just a so-so for me.

MelissaSue81 Same same same. I was just telling my husband how I feel like I must be too stupid to understand this book because I don‘t get it. 4y
cathysaid @MelissaSue81 Right? I expected the two storylines to converge or at least mimic each other...but if they did, I didn‘t see it! 4y
54 likes2 comments
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cathysaid
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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🤔 Things that make you go hmmmm...

Trashcanman Well said! 4y
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cathysaid
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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“...but there‘s no getting around the fact that she‘s always the one holding the mirror.”

Perspective, no? Makes me think of the adage: “History is written by the winners.”

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AlexGeorge
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Extraordinary read. I can‘t believe this is her first novel. It‘s so good, so well written, and so damn smart. I‘m in awe (and a bit jealous.)

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AlexGeorge
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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At the suggestion of Jennifer Haigh, I just started this. And, well, wow. I live it already. So good!

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SW-T
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Panpan

I don‘t normally pan books because I understand that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears goes into them. However, statements like “arresting questions about the very nature of fiction itself” are essentially Do Not Read signs that should be heeded. The characters, plot, and structure were all poor. Not confusing, but poorly executed. This was a waste of my time, money, and mental energy that could have been better spent elsewhere.

@Litsi

IamIamIam At least you gave it a fair shake! 4y
LiteraryinLawrence Thanks for letting the rest of us know! 4y
SW-T @LiteraryinLititz @IamIamIam I‘d seen good write ups online (New Yorker, Atlantic, etc) so really wanted to like it. 😳 Oh well. Plenty more books to read! 4y
23 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Litsi
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Here is the text of the miraculous joint trip on the next page.

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Litsi
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Ok. So he has left her to go to an island. Then he calls her to let her hear the sounds. But in the next para she is with him and the text says they brought a camera with them. BUT THEY DIDN‘T GO TOGETHER AND I DIDN‘T EVEN SEE HER TRAVEL AND EVENNIF THAT IS STATES HOW AM I TO KNOW WHEN THIS JOINT TRIP IS HAPPENING? WHAT AM I MISSING? WHY WAS THIS PUBLISHED?

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Litsi
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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If anyone can make sense of the next 2 pages I post I will keep reading this book. I want to like it but cannot understand even the basics of how the characters are moving from scene to scene. Thanks.

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amyrohn
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Panpan

This just wasn‘t for me. “Folly” just made me angry the whole time and I liked “Madness” at first but then it got pretentious and I found myself skipping through it just to get it done. And the end with Ezra is just insufferable. The only connection I see is through the war and the mentioning of the desert discs show. I gave it 2 stars because it did pick up a bit in “Madness,” but I just really didn‘t like this.

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amyrohn
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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I‘m only 10 pages in to this one and I‘m already having a really hard time with it. I‘m only reading it because it‘s this months book club pick, which will also be the only reason I finish it, but I can already tell this won‘t be getting a high rating.

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MeganLindell
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Panpan

⭐️⭐️ • Eeeeek I didn‘t get this book. Maybe it‘s too smart for me? Anyway, not really my cup of tea.

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emmaturi
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Mehso-so

I mean I enjoyed but didn't come away with the feeling that I loved it! Has anyone else read it? Feelings? #books

Booksnchill I really enjoyed this one- read it when it first came out and right after Roth‘s death- the third part brought it together for me. 4y
34 likes1 comment
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Howseldomtheydo
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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First signs of spring spotted on my walk today! My mind kept wandering while listening to the tagged book, thank goodness I‘m almost done. #litsywalkers #fourmiles #currentlyreading #audiobook #springhassprung

Melissa_J I can‘t wait until we start seeing green here! We still have snow on the ground though. Hopefully all but the largest snowbanks will be gone in a few weeks 4y
Howseldomtheydo @Melissa_J We are supposed to get a couple of inches tomorrow 😢 but I don‘t think it will last long 🤞 4y
109 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Lola
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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My bookstore‘s March read for our fiction book club. I wasn‘t crazy about the beginning but now I‘m at the can‘t put it down stage. I‘ve had this downloaded since it made the TOB longlist for the current tournament. Looking forward to tonight‘s discussion. #morningreading #bookandcoffee

Ruthiella I need to get more disciplined about reading the TOB longlisted books that interested me! This is one of them!😀 4y
Lola @Ruthiella Especially true when my faves/the ones my most interested in don‘t make the shortlist. 😢 4y
39 likes2 comments
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ManyWordsLater
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Five weeks into my #homereno and reading has been harder than I was expecting and book shopping has been a lot easier. 😬

I‘m also wondering if Asymmetry is a good choice considering my scattered mind right now. Thoughts?

#renovation #construction #slump #retailtherapy #upnext #progessupdate #bookstack #stack

Tamra Good Lord Bird kept me reading. 4y
ManyWordsLater @Tamra with that recommendation, I‘m starting The Good Lord Bird! 4y
Tamra @ManyWordsLater I hope you like it! 🤞🏾 4y
54 likes3 comments
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Mamashep
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Started listening to this one on the way home from work. I have no idea what it‘s about; just saw it on a bunch of “best of 2018” lists. That‘s good enough for me to give it a go.

Megabooks I‘ve been meaning to read this too. 4y
Mamashep @Megabooks I got about half@way thru and it totally changed gears. I‘m not as wild about the second part. Should finish it tomorrow and we‘ll see if they tie together some how or if that‘s the point of the title. 4y
Megabooks Would you be willing to tag me in your final review? I‘m interested in your opinion! 👍🏻 4y
15 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Howseldomtheydo
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Another walk on the treadmill today 😢 this pic is what I pictured inside my head instead of the ice and snow outside. #litsywalkers #audiobook #currentlyreading

rockpools Aww. It‘ll be spring soon 🤞 4y
128 likes2 comments
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Redwritinghood
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

This one is a pick mainly for the way it tickles the intellect. In three parts, the book starts with a story of an older author and his young lover, then moves to the story of an American of Iraqi descent stuck at a London airport. The third part is the older author again, relating his experiences with music in his life. While seemingly disparate, the parts included many overlapping themes and motifs that made them not so asymmetrical at all. 4⭐️

monalyisha My book club is reading this late in the year! 🙌🏻 4y
Redwritinghood @monalyisha I look forward to seeing what you make of it. This book seems divisive so it should make for good discussion at your book club. 4y
readordierachel "tickles the intellect" Love that ? 4y
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LWagoner
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Mehso-so

Not sure I understood what the author was trying to do with this novel- seems more like 3 separate sections/ novellas than interconnected stories. The writing as a whole was great....but maybe that‘s the point- the asymmetry of it all.

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Minervasbutler
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Nice job! 📚💕 4y
88 likes1 comment
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Abailliekaras
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Our latest episode of Books On The Go is up! Amanda & I discuss Asymmetry. More than worth the hype - we loved this one! Subscribe at all good podcast places & let us know what you thought if you‘ve read it. 🎧✨

50 likes2 stack adds
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Minervasbutler
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Superficially 2 unrelated novellas, one concerning the affair between a young woman and an eminent ageing novelist, the other an American-Iraqi detained at Heathrow, with an odd coda at the end. Closer examination reveals the connections between the sections and the grappling with themes such as authenticity and imagination. Beautifully written and quite unlike anything I've ever read.

SamAnne Loved this novel. Great debut. 4y
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Minervasbutler
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Lol

AnnieReads 😂 this one is on my TBR list. 4y
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Abailliekaras
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

A beautiful novel in 3 parts, connected by themes & motifs - like different movements of the same piece of music. I love the fresh writing - it‘s skilful & considered but not overdone. Mary Alice asks whether a novel should tackle big questions like war or more domestic, intimate stories: Halliday offers both & lets us decide, w hints of music & religion as shared by all. Told w affection & a sure, light touch - thought-provoking & a joy to read.

Cinfhen Beautiful photo & review 💙 4y
Abailliekaras @Cinfhen thank you! I didn‘t know what to expect with this one but absolutely loved it. 😃 4y
saresmoore Great review! 4y
See All 7 Comments
Chelsea.Poole Gorgeous view 😊 4y
BarbaraBB You really make me want to read this book 💜 4y
Abailliekaras @barbarabb I hope you like it! 4y
55 likes1 stack add7 comments
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SW-T
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Use code NYNY19 to get 30%off and free shipping until January 9 on simonandschuster.com

Happy book shopping!

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Abailliekaras
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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My current read - I‘m enjoying this so far! 📖🤓

mcctrish The cover is 💛 4y
Abailliekaras @mcctrish isn‘t it! 4y
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Floresj
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

I think I‘m missing deeper aspects of this book, but I loved it- especially the second of the three parts. There were so many gems of observations nestled in between the ongoing plot that made me wish I could annotate this one. The relationship in the first and third portions was both tragic and engaging. It‘s definitely one of my favorites of the 2018 class. Brilliantly written.

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SamAnne
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Halliday perfectly captures the obtuse arrogance of an older male lover/mentor, the shifting vulnerability and young talented woman coming into her own. Loved all three interconnected stories.

RaimeyGallant Nice review. And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon
4y
DarcysMom Welcome to Litsy! 🤩 4y
DebReads4fun Welcome to Litsy! 4y
SamAnne Thank you! 4y
Nute Welcome to Litsy! It‘s a warm and friendly community. I know that you will enjoy yourself here. I‘m looking forward to getting to know you!🙂 3y
10 likes5 comments
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RowReads1
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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📖

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scowler1
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Pickpick

Two seemingly unrelated novellas turn out to be just that, with a short chapter at the end revealing nothing. I've read all the hype and reviews and conclude I'm not smart enough to 'get' this book. Either that or it's an emperor's new clothes situation.
Having said all that, it's brilliantly written and interesting to the last word. I loved it.

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gracemom
Asymmetry | Lisa Halliday
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Lovely so far.....