Elif Batuman - The Idiot
Batuman has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010. Her work was selected for two volumes of The Best American Essays series and her first book, The Possessed, was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Now Batuman turns her spirited blend of travel writing, literary scholarship, and autobiography to a rich coming-of-age novel. Set in 1995, the narrative starts with Selin’s first day at Harvard. The daughter of Turkish immigrants, Selin grew up in New Jersey and is eager to study languages. Along with her academic work she cultivates several new friendships and falls in love with a Hungarian mathematician, which leads her to spend the summer teaching English in Hungary. Descriptive and insightful, Batuman’s fiction nimbly evokes Selin’s head-spinning combination of exhilaration and uncertainty as she discovers both the world and herself.