Asymmetry (novel)

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Asymmetry cover.jpg
AuthorLisa Halliday
GenreLiterary Fiction
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date

Asymmetry is the first novel by American author Lisa Halliday, published in February 2018 by Simon & Schuster.[1] The novel has received critical acclaim with The New Yorker calling it "a literary phenomenon"[2] and The New York Times including it in the list of "15 remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century."[3] Barack Obama included the book in his list of best books from 2018.[4]


The book is composed of three parts that take place over different periods of time in the 2000s.

Part 1: Folly[edit]

The 25-year old Alice, who works for a publishing company, starts an affair with a famous writer, Ezra Blazer.[5] They both live and work in New York City, and the story follows their affair over time, as many world events happen in the background, most noticeably the start of the Iraq War. Because Blazer is very famous, they spend most of their time inside his apartment often watching TV and discussing the 2003 and 2004 ALCS playoffs between Red Sox and Yankees.[6]

Part 2: Madness[edit]

It's Christmas 2008 and Amar Jaafari, an American citizen of Iraqi-Kurdish descent is held for questioning at the Heathrow Airport in London on his way to Iraq. During the hours of his detention, he recalls his life in America, his visits to Iraq during the war, and his brother, a doctor who learned to play piano during his childhood in America, who has gone missing.

Part 3: Ezra Blazer's Desert Island Discs[edit]

More years have passed, and during a radio interview with the BBC in 2011, we learn that Ezra Blazer has finally won the Nobel Prize in literature. During the interview he mentions that a young friend of his has written a little novel, hinting that Amar's story is "Alice's creative jailbreak."[5]


  1. ^ Halliday, Lisa (2018-02-06). Asymmetry: A Novel. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781501166761.
  2. ^ Waldman, Katy (April 12, 2018). "Why Asymmetry Has Become a Literary Phenomenon". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  3. ^ Garner, Dwight; Sehgal, Parul; Szalai, Jennifer (2018-03-05). "The New Vanguard". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  4. ^ Caron, Christina (2018-12-28). "Barack Obama's Favorite Book of 2018 Was 'Becoming.' Here's What Else He Liked". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  5. ^ a b "'Asymmetry' Is A Guide To Being Bigger Than Yourself". Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  6. ^ Lorentzen, Christian (2018-02-07). "Lisa Halliday's Tremendous New Experiment of a Novel". Vulture. Retrieved 2018-12-29.