Fiction or reality?

The critically acclaimed debut novel by American Lisa Halliday (b. 1977), Asymmetry, depicts two vastly different people's vastly different lives. In the chapter "Folly" we meet the young editor Alice, who is in a relationship with the older successful writer Ezra Blazer. Soon afterwards comes the chapter "Madness", where we meet the young American-Iraqi Amar. He is on his way to Iraq, but is arrested at Heathrow Airport in London, suspected of being a terrorist (something he is not). Here he is interrogated for hours, and we get to know his childhood, former boyfriend Maddie and brother Sami. The last chapter, "Ezra Blazer's Desert Island Dics," is an interview with Ezra from the first chapter.

The asymmetries exist on many levels in this book: the relationship between young woman and older man (Alice and Ezra); having two nationalities (American-Iraqi Amar); the male role versus the female role (Ezra and Amar, Alice and the female interviewer in the last chapter); West and Middle East (Alice and Amar).

Skjønnheten og udyret

The phenomenon of "young talented woman and older successful man" – or "beauty and the beast" if you will – is prevalent both in conservative societies, with bridesmaids as the most extreme example, and in modern society: Lisa Halliday even had a longer relationship with it knew American author Philip Roth (1933–2018) when she was in her 20s.

We are all vulnerable individuals, regardless of gender, nationality and status.

Roth is supposed to be the model behind the character Ezra Blazer, although it is clearly stated on the first page: «This book is a. . .



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