The Idiot by Elif Batuman

a nutshell: a hilarious punchback to the angst of arriving at adulthood & having no idea where to go from there

a line: “deep down I have a talent for wellbeing. I can feel it”

an image: easygoing/haphazard Selin often finds herself in borderline bizarre situations, e.g. over dinner in a Hungarian village she mulls over the words for how best to avoid encouraging a boy to recommence his painful performance on a recorder

a thought: Selin writes lots about her conviction that she’s good at writing and already is a writer … while simultaneously believing she has written & could never write anything people would like (I identify)

a fact: the most encyclopaedic novel I’ve read in years, full of fun facts especially about language – did you know Turkish has a suffix, -miş, that can be added to verbs to report anything you didn’t witness personally, used mostly for fairy tales or gossip? (Selin says a cousin used it to refer to all the things she had heard Selin was guilty of saying/doing)

 

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