First time authors are rarely known to write a truly exceptional book but Lisa Halliday accomplished the nearly impossible when she published Asymmetry: a collection of three short stories, two that appear to be related (Folly and Ezra Blazer’s Desert Island Discs) and one that appears to be asymmetrical but is clearly the star of the show (Madness).
In Folly, Alice, a twenty-something assistant editor at a publishing house in New York City meets Ezra Blazer, an elderly well known and universally respected writer of classic 20th century fiction who has yet to win the Nobel Prize for fiction. Blazer was probably once a player with rugged good looks and a shocking head of thick hair but time has not been kind to the author who complains about back pain, his heart problems, and the other ailments that haunt the elderly. Read more
Life is just a short period of time in which we are alive.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, American Pastoral by Philip Roth is a thought-provoking novel about post World War II life in America and specifically, how Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and racial cultural norms interplay when forced together. Told from the perspective of Nathan “Skip” Zuckerman, a 62-year old writer who goes back to Newark, New Jersey for his 45th high school reunion in 1995, only to discover his childhood hero – Seymour “Swede” Levov and the older brother of a classmate – has just died at age 70 of prostate cancer that had metastasized. Having just seen the still “splendid-looking” Swede a few months prior at a restaurant in New York City where they had dinner together, Skip decides to write the life story of the Jewish kid from Newark who seemed to live the American Pastoral. Read more