Filled with humour and astute observations about the power of language, human nature and the absurdities of academia and adolescence, The Idiotfollows the journey of Harvard fresher Selin, bewildered by the opportunities and ordeals of adulthood.
Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018
Selin, a tall, highly strung Turkish-American from New Jersey turns up at Harvard and finds herself dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood.
She studies linguistics and literature, teaches ESL and spends a lot of time thinking about what language - and languages - can and cannot do.
Along the way she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary. The two conduct a hilarious relationship that culminates with Selin spending the summer teaching English in a Hungarian village and enduring a series of surprising excursions.
Throughout her journeys, Selin ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape who we are, how difficult it is to be a failed writer, and how baffling love is.
At once clever and clueless, Batuman's heroine shows us with perfect hilarity and soulful inquisitiveness just how messy it can be to forge a self.
'I loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it.' - Emma Cline
Number of pages: 432
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 27 mm