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Post about asymmetry

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rokob committed Mar 5, 2019
1 parent 0a2fbdf commit 04a06397560400ad9445268f01c73bed0ac8a6d5
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- book
- fiction
- good
published: false
pagecount: 305

Winner of a few awards and top of quite a few lists, [*Asymmetry*][book-amaz] is a book that defies
a normal categorization. The book has three parts which can best be described as two halves with a
long short story tacked onto the end to wrap things up.

The first half reads like a Woody Allen movie. I hated it. The post-post-modern liteary cliches were
just overwhelmingly in your face. I get it, you have some clever phrases. You live in New York. Your
life is interesting because it is so ordinary, and yet not. But it starts to build in some serious
ways, some unbelievable moments become acceptable as just how things should ordinarily be. This life
starts to take on new meaning both in content and literary form. Most of my annoyance has started to
shed, and by the end of the first part I think this is an okay book. I am not sure why it is getting
such high praise other than perhaps the New York literary scene is incestual.

The second part of the book is foreshadowed from the first, in fact the meta point is made explicit
while eating ice cream, but yet it still hits so well. Can a young woman in New York from
Massachusetts truly inhabit the life of a muslim Iraqi-American man? Yes, in a way that even though
you know what is happening, by the end you are so caught up that it doesn't matter. This is a story
about who someone is that is real to us. I was at a loss for how I should reconcile the unreality of
the story I was reading with the emotions it evokes. You care for this man trapped in an aiport
trying to deal with the dual nature of both his homelands. This part makes the book.

The final part of the book is just a radio interview. It ties up a few of the outstanding topics
from the first part of the book. The middle part is a non sequitur in many ways, but thematically it
fits. The last part feels tacked on and didn't do much for me.

Overall this is worth a read. If only for the middle. It might have been a decent short story.
Scratch that, the whole package is really necessary for each part to really shine through. I was
ready to call this a case of the emperor's clothes near the beginning, but I am glad I stuck it out.


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