book cover of The Idiot

The Idiot

(2017)
A novel by

 
 
Awards
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Best Book (nominee)
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Best Book (nominee)
A portrait of the artist as a young woman. A novel about not just discovering but inventing oneself.

The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings.

At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer.

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom, its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman's fiction is unguarded against both life's affronts and its beauty - and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling that they entail.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"Elif Batuman surely has one of the best senses of humour in American letters. The pleasure she takes in observing the eccentricities of each of her characters makes for a really refreshing and unique bildungsroman; one more fascinated with what's going on around and outside the bewildered protagonist, than what's going on inside her." - Sheila Heti

"The Idiot is a hilariously mundane immersion into a world that has never before received the 19th Century Novel treatment. An addictive, sprawling epic; I wolfed it down." - Miranda July

"Elif Batuman's novel not only captures the storms and mysteries and comedies of youth but, in its wonderfully sensitive portrait of a young woman adventuring across languages and cultures, it brilliantly draws to our attention a modern politics of friendship. This is a remarkable book." - Joseph O'Neill


Similar books by other authors


Used availability for Elif Batuman's The Idiot

Hardback Editions

June 2017 : UK Hardback
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 1-910702-69-2 / 978-1-910702-69-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


March 2017 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 1-59420-561-2 / 978-1-59420-561-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Penguin Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

April 2018 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 0-09-958317-8 / 978-0-09-958317-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2018 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 0-14-311106-X / 978-0-14-311106-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 2017 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 1-910702-70-6 / 978-1-910702-70-3 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon UK   


March 2017 : Paperback
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Title: The Idiot (Random House Large Print)
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 1-5247-5622-9 / 978-1-5247-5622-2
Publisher: Random House Large Print
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


January 1900 : USA Paperback
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Title: Idiot the Mrexp
Author(s): Elif Batuman
ISBN: 0-7352-2387-4 / 978-0-7352-2387-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Penguin Random House USA Ex
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

June 2017 : USA Audio edition
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon   


June 2017 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon CA   


June 2017 : UK Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon UK   


March 2017 : USA Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon   


March 2017 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

June 2017 : Australia, UK Kindle edition
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Title: The Idiot
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


March 2017 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: The Idiot: A Novel
Author(s): Elif Batuman
Publisher: Penguin Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA