Two completely different stories make up the bulk of this debut novel, seemingly brought together in a coda at the end. Frankly, I still don’t quite get the relationship between them. In part one, a young woman falls into an affair with a much, much older famous writer (evidently based on the author’s own relationship with Philip Roth). In the second part, an Iraqi-American man is stuck in passport control in a British airport while on a layover to visit a journalist friend there. He is trying to get to Kurdistan to find his brother, Sami, who has disappeared. While in holding, he reflects back on his earlier life with Sami and his family. In the final section, the aging author, Ezra, is interviewed on a radio program about what few music recordings he would take to a desert island, and why he has selected them. As in the second part, there are many flashbacks to earlier events in his life. I’m evidently not hip and cool enough to get Ms. Halliday’s fiction (fiction?). 288 pp.