The Idiot

by Elif Batuman

Deadpan and desultory, this is an unusual coming-of-age novel. A Turkish-American girl, baffled by language, first love and learning, tries to work out who she might become. Expect intense conversations about weighty topics, no plot and wry humour.


'Right,' I said, nodding energetically and trying to determine whether any of the rectangles in my peripheral vision was a box of tissues. Unfortunately, they were all books. The professor was talking about the differences between creative and academic writing. I kept nodding. I was thinking about the structural equivalences between a tissue box and a book: both consisted of slips of white paper in a cardboard case; yet - and this was ironic- there was very little functional equivalence, especially if the book wasn't yours. These were the kinds of things I thought about all the time, even though they were neither pleasant nor useful. I had no idea what you were supposed to be thinking about.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Read Extract

Books with similar rating


1. Select UK region:

Not in the UK?

Scotland Norther Ireland North East of England North West of England Yorkshire and the Humber Wales West Midlands East Midlands East of England London South West of England South East of England

Sign in


Whichbook Sign Up

Enter your email address to get started:

First name:
Last name:
Confirm password:


Email alerts are only available for registered users.