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The Crack Magazine

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Either/Or by Elif Batuman

To say I love The Idiot, Elif Batuman’s first novel which is not to be confused with the Russian classic by Dostoevsky, would be a huge understatement. The story of Selin, a young Turkish-American woman starting at Harvard, fell into my hands the summer after my own Freshers’ year and gave me huge comfort about the anti-climax that was supposed to be the first of ‘the best years of my life’. The sequel to the Pulitzer finalist, Either/Or, is more of the same, meaning it’s witty, intelligent and funny without seeming like it’s trying too hard to be any of those things. Despite being an exceptionally gifted Russian Literature student, Selin’s experiences with unrequited love and her quest to live an aesthetic, novel-worthy life feels so human and relatable. Her inner monologue is addictive enough to read a thousand more pages of, and I can only cross my fingers that this isn’t the last instalment of the series. MG

Published by Jonathon Cape

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