Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Idiot

The Idiot by Elif Batuman, 423 pages.

Batuman's novel of a young woman at Harvard in the mid-1990s has an autobiographical feel. Her main character, Selin, the only child of Turkish immigrants to the US, is a little naive, sweet, hardworking, and little bewildered. Everything, from roommates to professors, and beer and cigarettes are new to her. The miniature portraits of Selin's classes, her classmates, and her professors are funny and bright, as are her curiosity and literal-mindedness
The book is relentlessly cheerful, even in it's saddest moments (Selin, in fact, observes her sadness and wonders about it) The Idiot is sort of an enchanting book. It seems like this should appeal to a wide-range of readers, it's just so good.

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