Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
This book is unusual in a lot of ways, but the one that surprises me the most is that it is a concept book in many ways, but it is absolutely engaging on the level of scene and character. There has been a lot of talk about the novel’s themes and messages–what novelists can and can’t do, power dynamics between men and women, east and west, blurred lines between imagination and reality–but for me all that would have failed if Halliday had not written, first and foremost, an engaging story about a love affair, and a second engaging story about an Iraqi American navigating the early 2000’s and recalling earlier parts of his life. The Alice/Ezra section grabbed me in particular in the way it revealed information–never with exposition or even really any interiority, but through offhand remarks or subtle cues. All the more cerebral stuff is a bonus.