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The Idiot

af Elif Batuman

Serier: Selin Karadag (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,6296710,823 (3.6)77
Fiction. Literature. HTML:A New York Times Book Review Notable Book  Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction  Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Easily the funniest book Ive read this year.
GQ

Masterly funny debut novel . .  . Erudite but never pretentious, The Idiot will make you crave more books by Batuman. Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair

A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself.

The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. 
 
At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer.

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman's fiction is unguarded against both life's affronts and its beautyand has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.

Named one the best books of the year by Refinery29 Mashable One Elle Magazine The New York Times Bookpage Vogue NPR Buzzfeed The Millions.
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» Se også 77 omtaler

Engelsk (65)  Lettisk (1)  Alle sprog (66)
Viser 1-5 af 66 (næste | vis alle)
i liked this book, but i wish i could've taken more time with it - i had to really rush because it was on hold at the library, so i couldn't renew. i thought this was very clever etc but it also made me pretty sad. the idea is that we're all supposed to cherish the naivety of youth, because as we grow older we lose the capacity to be so stupid and so embarrassing - and it just made me miserable that there are not as many stories about adults going on these journeys of self-discovery, when actually, frankly, many people in their 20s and 30s and beyond are still very stupid. i shouldn't have to read about an 18/19 year old to find themes like the shock of first love... idk. maybe i'm just going through something but this hit me from a weird angle. i wanted to love it but i only liked it, and mostly on an intellectual level. nevertheless it is very good ( )
  i. | Apr 17, 2024 |
I feel like this is one of those books that if I had read it for the first time too early or too late in my life then I could have ended up hating it, but luckily I read it now and that’s just not the case. “The Idiot” is subtly hilarious and beautifully intellectual in a very specific way that I haven’t encountered before. There’s a deep appreciation for artwork and literature and travel and growing up in this novel, and I surprisingly enjoyed every last page. ( )
  deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
This book was so rambling and frustrating but I think that was the whole point - so good job!

Selin has a crush on a fellow student named Ivan and they develop an online relationship in the dawn of the email age. They aren’t sure how to translate what’s online to real life and they can’t really figure out how they feel or where they fit in the world. But they have SOMETHING that’s intense and important to both of them but also extremely confusing and whatever it is makes them both feel like the title Idiot.

I struggled reading this but eventually I felt better about it.



( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Barely started this and I suspect it's good, but wasn't in the right frame of mind. ( )
  Okies | Jan 21, 2024 |
Quite good. Flits along from one thought, minor event to another, but all goes to show the awkwardness of what appears to be a young mind, but in fact is the awkwardness of a thoughtful human whose attachment to “knowing” is weak—only to discover that “knowing” and knowledge are weak properties. Bateman doesn’t make cute and adorable the awkwardness. And no good comes of it. It’s just a perpetual discomfort of not knowing what the right thing to do or think or say is. It’s a long book (400+) but very readable and engaging. Bateman has a humor that is endearing: writing of taking the train back to Harvard in January, “I had listened to my Walkman while reading Père Goriot. Père Goriot’s previous owner, Brian Kennedy, had systematically underlined what seemed to be the most meaningless and disconnected sentences in the whole book. Thank God I wasn’t in love with Brian Kennedy, and didn’t feel any mania to decipher his thoughts.” (P 81)
1 stem BookyMaven | Dec 6, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 66 (næste | vis alle)
The sermonic version of The Idiot might conclude with this: if power compromises love, and sex involves power, then sex always compromises love. To be intoxicated by someone’s power is to allow your love for them to be compromised. True love will not save you: the truer the love the deeper the compromise.

I don’t think Selin sees a way out of this predicament.
tilføjet af elenchus | RedigerThe Millions, Kris Bartkus (Apr 20, 2017)
 
In one respect, The Idiot, a debut novel by Elif Batuman, staff writer at the New Yorker, is an expansion of the Hungary-based segment of her nonfiction The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. Ironically, however, it strikes you as throwaway material that didn’t merit inclusion in that well-received work. It’s mostly bland and boring. At over 400 pages, it also feels interminable...Ultimately, you cannot but wonder why Batuman wrote such a meandering and listless novel. Because it reflects her real-life experiences? If so, the author would do well to emulate a minor character in The Idiot, who, unlike Selin and a friend of hers, “doesn’t compulsively rehash everything that happens to her in the form of a story.
 
Elif Batuman’s first novel, “The Idiot,” is in part about the unlikely and consuming crush that Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, develops on an older mathematics student from Hungary during her freshman year at Harvard.

It is unclear, for hundreds of pages, whether this crush is requited. Meanwhile the reader, palm crushed into forehead, thinks, “Poor Selin, what are you doing to yourself?”..Small pleasures will have to sustain you over the long haul of this novel. “The Idiot” builds little narrative or emotional force. It is like a beautiful neon sign made without a plug. No glow is cast... After 100 pages, I was done with Ivan and wanted Selin to be done, too....There are two things I admire about this novel. One is the touching sense, here as in everything Batuman writes, that books are life. Selin is, convincingly and only slightly pretentiously, the sort of person who buys an overcoat because it reminds her of Gogol’s...this wry but distant novel, never becomes an enveloping one. Fiction, like love, is strange.
 
Now she’s continued this project in a long and enjoyably literary novel, The Idiot...A summary of this kind makes the novel sound like a treatise, which is exactly what it is not. The voice throughout is colloquial and humorous. And as a reading experience, it is enjoyable: a generously capacious book that creates an alternative world for the reader to inhabit in a manner comparable to the Russian novels that Batuman loves. Part of the pleasure is that many of the characters are unusually likable. Selin’s friends are consistently warm, curious and interesting, despite waking her up with their snoring or dismissing her love for Ivan. Even her interfering mother is generally sensible in her advice.
Elif Batuman interview: ‘I thought racism and sexism were over. I was in for a rude awakening’
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The likability tends to be confined to the female characters, however...A young woman discovers the difference between life and literature in a warm, funny portrayal of university life in the 90s
 

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But the characteristic feature of the ridiculous age I was going through---awkward indeed but by no means infertile---is that we do not consult our intelligence and that the most trivial attributes of other people seem to us to form an inseparable part of their personality.  In a world thronged with monsters and with gods, we know little peace of mind.  There is hardly a single action we perform in that phase which we would not give anything, in later life, to be able to annul.  Whereas what we ought to regret is that we no longer possess the spontaneity which made us perform them.  In later life we look at things in a more practical way, in full conformity with the rest of society, but adolescence is the only period in which we learn anything.
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, Volume II: Within a Budding Grave
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:A New York Times Book Review Notable Book  Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction  Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction

Easily the funniest book Ive read this year.
GQ

Masterly funny debut novel . .  . Erudite but never pretentious, The Idiot will make you crave more books by Batuman. Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair

A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself.

The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. 
 
At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer.

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman's fiction is unguarded against both life's affronts and its beautyand has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.

Named one the best books of the year by Refinery29 Mashable One Elle Magazine The New York Times Bookpage Vogue NPR Buzzfeed The Millions.

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