Asymmetry - Lisa Halliday
2018, 277 pages
In part one of this debut novel, junior editor Alice has an affair with Ezra Blazer, a famous, much older author. Their romance takes place in New York in the early years of the Iraq War.
Part two abruptly switches setting and moves to the Immigration Office at Heathrow on the last day of 2008. Doctorate student Amar, an Iraqi-American, is detained on his way to see his brother in Kurdistan. He tells about growing up in the US in an immigrant family and wrestles with questions of memory and identity.
The third part of the novel contains the transcript of a short radio interview with Ezra Blazer talking about his musical preferences. Although the three parts seem at first sight to be unconnected, they are tied together in a very subtle way.
‘Asymmetry’ is an ambitious and beautifully written book that can seduce the reader to reflect on themes like race, nationality and power. Highly recommended.