Thursday, 24 January 2019

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

"'They sat in the last row, so as not to be conspicuous, also so that he could get up and stretch his back if he needed to, but he didn't."

You know when you read an advertisement or a review that is so glowing that you immediately go and buy a copy of a book, this was that set of circumstances personified.

I really wanted to like it more. The initial two characters of Alice and Ezra are so infuriating. The famous author because he is such a horrid old man cliche with a younger woman. The character of Alice, because she seems so unlikely as to be one dimensional. I questioned how could a woman create such an unlikely female character. I get the whole dating an older, more successful man as a young woman, but Alice still lacked credibility for me. It all seemed pretty banal and frustrating.

Next we skip to the more interesting tale of an American-Iraqi man attempting to gain access to the UK on the way to visit his brother. This one felt decidedly more visceral in terms of the treatment by security and yet it also seemed a little tokenistic.

Finally we return to Ezra expounding on Desert Island Discs and appearing bombastic and a womaniser and completely gross. I can see how it was an attempt to tie the stories in together and yet I just wasn't buying the execution.

Ultimately this one was disappointing for me - a little askew? Perhaps that's what the title refers to.

3 out of 5 moments of interest... moments.

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