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The Idiot Hardcover – 1 Jun 2017

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (1 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910702692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910702697
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"I loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it. It presented this almost moment-by-moment experience of life, in a way that I just felt Batuman had so much control. There’s so much wit and pleasure in her writing you feel very comfortable being in the world she’s created." (Emma Cline, author of THE GIRLS)

"Elif Batuman is a writer whose byline creates a flutter of anticipation… If a dominant mode of her generation is knowing introspection, she writes with a bewildered outrospection that delights in the bathetic and the absurdIt’s a novel about being young and stupid that’s both wise and clever ― and it’s a treat." (Evening Standard)

"Elif Batuman surely has one of the best senses of humour in American letters. The pleasure she takes in observing the eccentricities of each of her characters makes for a really refreshing and unique bildungsroman; one more fascinated with what's going on around and outside the bewildered protagonist, than what s going on inside her." (Sheila Heti, author of HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE? and TICKNOR)

"Each paragraph is a small anthology of well-made observations Batuman has a rich sense of the details of human attachment and lust." (Dwight Garner New York Times)

"Beautifully written... a wry, funny coming-of-age story set at the dawn of email among a group of Harvard brainiacs too nerdy and self-involved to even think about sex, drugs and drinking." (Daily Mail)

"[A] masterfully funny debut novel… Erudite but never pretentious, The Idiot will make you crave more books by Batuman." (Sloane Crosley Vanity Fair)

"Not since Don Quixote has a quest for love gone so hilariously and poignantly awry. In spare, unforgettable prose, Batuman the traveller (to Harvard, to mysterious Hungary) recreates for the reader the psychic state of being a child entering language. We marvel and tremble with her at the impossibility and mysterious necessity for human connection that both makes life worthwhile and yet so often strands us all in torment. This book is a bold, unforgettable, un-put-downable read by a new master stylist. Best novel I've read in years." (Mary Karr, author of THE ART OF MEMOIR and IT CHOOSES YOU)

"A moving, continent-hopping coming-of-age story." (Observer, 2017 Books of the Year)

"Often wonderful, frequently hilariousfull of zingy one-liners and arch, deflationary observations about the absurdities of academia and adolescence…" (Financial Times)

"I'm not Turkish, I don't have a Serbian best friend, I'm not in love with a Hungarian, I don't go to Harvard. Or do I? For one wonderful week, I got to be this worldly and brilliant, this young and clumsy and in love. The Idiot is a hilariously mundane immersion into a world that has never before received the 19th Century Novel treatment. An addictive, sprawling epic; I wolfed it down." (Miranda July, author of THE FIRST BAD MAN and IT CHOOSES YOU)

"Self-aware, cerebral, and delightful." (Kirkus, starred review)

"Selin is entrancing – so smart, so clueless, so funny – and Batuman’s exceptional discernment, comedic brilliance, and soulful inquisitiveness generate a charmingly incisive and resonant tale of the messy forging of a self.
" (Donna Seaman Booklist)

"Elif Batuman's novel not only captures the storms and mysteries and comedies of youth but, in its wonderfully sensitive portrait of a young woman adventuring across languages and cultures, it brilliantly draws to our attention a modern politics of friendship. This is a remarkable book." (Joseph O'Neill, author of THE DOG and NETHERLAND)

"Rambling, ramshackle, erudite; full of careless charm… Her jokes are one of this book’s great joys." (Sam Kitchener Daily Telegraph)

"There are very few things in life that are better than finding a novel that takes you somewhere you’ve never been, and reveals a world that you know nothing about: and that’s what lives at the heart of The Idiot. Fresh, fascinating and filled with details that are impossibly foreign and intricately fascinating, it’s a must-read for everyone looking to step outside their own lives for a little while and learn something about the experience of someone else coming into their own in such a difficult world." (Chelsea Hassler Yahoo! UK and Ireland)

"Batuman’s brainy novel is leavened with humor and a heroine incapable of artifice." (People Magazine)

"The Idiot is a baffling, if brilliant, first novel." (Totally Dublin)

"[A] witty, smart and endlessly-entertaining coming-of-age story." (National)

"The Idiot is an affectionate portrait of first love in all its bumbling haplessness, and a playful celebration of the power and limitations of language." (Literary Review)

"Very funny indeed. The Idiot is the richly observant story of [Selin's] unique and eccentric coming of age." (Sunday Times)

"Generously capacious… The triumph of Batuman’s book is to make this period of youth matter." (Guardian)

"You know when you love someone but they don’t love you back?... It’s a feeling so expertly drawn in The Idiot that you may well start to get flashbacks of your own unrequited tristes… The Idiot is beautiful in every passage, in every turn of the phrase, and full of wry observations that make you feel as if you’ve never really seen the world." (Stylist)

"Batuman captures the amplified, airless banality of the 1990s with flip sentences… Light-hearted but of high quality, it falls into the loafing abroad, goofing and self-knowing genre." (Jonathan McAloon Spectator)

"The whole novel is full of hilarious, brilliant observations about writing, life and crushes." (Curtis Sittenfeld Observer)

"Loose, largely plotless and sweetly funny, The Idiot rejects the doctrine of omitting needless words in favour of marvelling… at the complexities of language and communication." (Hannah Rosefield New Statesman)

Book Description

'I loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it.' – Emma Cline

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Customer reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 July 2017
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on 29 June 2017
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 June 2017
Format: Hardcover
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on 25 June 2017
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 95 reviews
72 people found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 starsShe's a great writer, but I found most of this completely tedious
on 5 April 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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4 people found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 stars3 Stars
on 5 May 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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5.0 out of 5 starsSubtle, original, unmistakable
on 26 July 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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5.0 out of 5 starsSo gently funny and true
on 5 August 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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One person found this helpful.
3.0 out of 5 starsGreat writer, Weak story
on 30 May 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
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