Asymmetry Asymmetry discussion

Esil, Angela and Diane discuss

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Diane S ☔ Starting January 1st.

Esil I just finished another book, so I’m starting in on this one today. I had to laugh when I read the first few pages. I was sitting on a flight coming home from a few days in New York this morning, and the story is set three blocks away from where we were staying!

New Years Eve is a quiet time at our house after a busy Christmas and few days in New York. I’m not even sure my kids will be venturing out given how cold it is — predicted high of -22 Celsius in Toronto tonight!

Stay warm and have a great Christmas Eve ladies!

Angela M I probably won’t start it until tomorrow unless I finish the one I’m reading later, then maybe tonight. Hope you had a nice time in New York , Esil.

It’s 9 degrees F here and will probably be a little colder tonight. We were supposed to get over 6 inches of snow last night but got less than that , thankfully. We’re in for the day and probably tomorrow too . I’m making us a nice dinner of lobster tails, baked potatoes and fresh green beans. Have Champagne for later . I’m not a night owl so I always ask Bob to wake me at 11:30 in case I fall asleep - lol .

Happy New Year to my best book buddies!

Esil I meant New Year’s Eve!

We had a great time, Angela. It was ridiculously cold, but we packed in a lot of great activities, including the 9/11 memorial and museum, Hamilton and a walk through snowy Central Park yesterday.

There’s no way I’ll be awake at midnight either, Angela :)

Diane S ☔ Hubby still gone until late tonight, so im eating junk. Lol Have really enjoyed my quiet time. So cold here too, think its 13 now. Angela, youre dinner sounds wonderful!!! Esil, hope you had a good time in Ny?

Angela M Jealous that you saw Hamilton! We went to the 9/11 Memorial the last time we visited my sister in law. I really love what they did with the pools around the footprint of where the buildings were . Very moving.

Diane , if I were here myself I’d be eating junk too! My husband is a real traditionalist and even though we stay home he wants its festive. So we’ll have a nice dinner but I’m dressed in old stretchy pants and a sweatshirt!

Diane S ☔ Think Esil and i were typing at the same time, lol.

Jealous of your Hamilton outing too. Did watch all six episodes of Wolf Hall though. Quite good.

Esil I just finished the first part, which is about half the book.

So far, I’m enjoying it, but it is definitely a bit odd.
I like the play on Alice in Wonderland. I love the New York setting. I like the literary references. I’m enjoying the writing. The relationship between Ezra and Alice feels creepy, but I know that’s the point. I do like how the author contrasts their different stages in life — and how overtime the differences between them create quite a gulf. I can’t relate to these characters, but I’m still enjoying reading about them.

Hope you are both having a good New Year’s Day. It’s a quiet one for us.

Angela M I just finished the first part and agree with a lot of what you say Lise. Even though the relationship does seem creepy at times, I have to say I did find something endearing about it . I felt like Ezra cared about Mary Alice and keeps a distance for her sake but maybe it was more for his work . I’m not sure how I feel about the end . I thought she was more dependent on him - not just financially. But the relationship did change .
I’ll be interested in seeing how this relates to the next novella and then the third part .
I enjoyed the baseball . Having lived in the Boston area I definitely understand the Red Sox - Yankees rivalry and we lived there in 2004 when they won the World Series .
Off to the second part .

Diane S ☔ I am finding this intriguing, though I'm not sure I understand it all. Not sure where it is going, but like you Angela I like their relationship, lopsided though it is, maybe harken to the title? Could have lived without the farting, anal sex part. Not sure why that had to be there. Baseball seems to be their common ground, though they root for different teams. Since I am a fan, though not of those teams, I enjoyed those discussions. Wonder what President morons problems were with potty training? I am enjoying all the literary references too, Lise, but confused at where some of them are from. I like the gifts he gives her to, very imaginative. A very different book for sure, and reminds me a little of Ali Smith.

message 11: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I just started the second part. I didn’t realize these were standalone novellas. I agree, Diane, I too could have done without the farting and anal sex, but Mary Alice felt the same way!

Angela M Me three ! Not sure why it was even there . I’m anxious to see how they will connect and if we will find out any more about Mary Alice from the third part - interview with Ezra.

Probably won’t get back to reading for a little while. My stepdaughter and her boyfriend are stopping over .

Diane S ☔ I am almost finished. Will be back later with thoughts. Have to go make lunch!

Angela M Just about done with the secon part . On my way to physical therapy. I’ll come back later -

message 16: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I too am almost finished the second part. I have to spend some time working today, so I probably won't be done until tonight. What I'll say for now about the second part is that I have not liked it as much as the first part. I find it quite messy and a bit hard to follow. I must also say that I find it odd that the author is writing from the perspective of an Iraqi-American man.

Angela M I’ve finished the second part but want to finish the last section to night to see if that sheds any light on how these novellas are connected. So I’ll comment on both of those. Right now I’m a little confused about the connection. Have to think on it more. I’m sure the author had something in mind.

Diane S ☔ I have finished the book. Have some thoughts but want to reread a few pages first. Right now I am charging my tablet so will be back. I do see that some sentences, thoughts in the first part are repeated in the second. The Alice theme, mirror, looking glass per say and death. Need to put these together in my head.

message 19: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I finished it. I suppose the title refers to the structure of the book. I’m not sure what I think overall. There are things I liked. Halliday is certainly talented. But it didn’t come together for me, and I had trouble with the middle and how it connects to the other two parts. Did you think that Ezra’s reference to a young friend who wrote a book about something completely apart from her was a suggestion that Mary Alice was the author of the middle part?

I’m going to have to collect my thoughts and think about my review overnight. In the meantime, I’m going to start The Boat People.

Thanks for setting up the thread, Diane. Any thoughts on how to break down when we comment?

Diane S ☔ I thought that too, about Mary Alice being the author. Also that literature, music and sports can bridge all kinds of asymmetrical gaps, age, generations, cultures. That we all fall down the rabbit hole, never knowing what to expect or what will change. We all see different things when gazing through the looking glass. I actually reread the last part, this was quite cleverly constructed,, can see why it is winning awards. It is a book that takes write a bit of thought. Can't seeing it being a popular read with many readers. I liked it, very literally and I am not adverse to sometimes working to understand it, as I said before, like Ali Smith where the plot is not linear, in fact the plot is almost secondary to the message and feeling the book portrays.

Angela M I’m not sure what I think about this . I’m
trying to find a substantial connection other than the middle book being written by Alice and I thought that immediately . I need to think about this more. I’ll sleep on it and see if I think more clearly about it tomorrow. Right now this will be 3 stars for me unless I come to a better understanding of what the author was trying to do.

I’ll come back tomorrow.

Angela M 3 stars is all I can give it . While I liked the writing and found the relationship between Ezra and Alice in the first novella endearing, it became creepy to me in the last section when he says that his young girlfriends are like his children! I thought the book was written in a clever way and it’s a lot about the form.
The second story was interesting and reflective of the immigrant experience and what it must have been like and certainly still is for those of Mid East descent. In the Coda, I definitely got the impression that this was written by Alice .

Maybe I’m missing something here but it just didn’t grab me . I’ll try to gather my thoughts in a more coherent way later to write a review. I’m curious to know how the two of you will rate it .

I’ll be starting The Boat People today .

message 23: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil Here's my review:

I talked myself into 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. As I wrote my review, I realized that there was a lot to this one I did enjoy.

Angela M Here’s my review:

It just didn’t grab me as I hoped it would .
Looking forward to your thoughts, Diane.

Diane S ☔ Won't review until tomorrow. I will rate as Esil did though, because I thought it was both clever and different. I also liked how it fit the title, as well as sports, literature and music. It was a more difficult read, in that the meaning isn't spelled out for you, but it does leave an impression. I will remember it.

I have started the boat people though. Had to work this morning so I'm m probably behind both of you.

Angela M Well , we can’t always have the same rating, even though we do a lot of the time . I agree , Diane that it is different but felt it was somewhat contrived .
I have only read a few pages of The Boat People and hope to get to it tonight.

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