The Idiot Archive
Elif Batuman’s protagonist wants to trust language, but language is inherently dishonest, a fractured mirror that never accurately reflects what really is. Trust it too much and it will leave you feeling betrayed.
In Elif Batuman’s new novel, Selin is trying to figure out how to narrate love, how to make it make narrative sense; on the way, she figures out what love and novels have to do with each other.
A tantalizing bildungsroman beginning convinces the reader not only that the protagonist is worth listening to, or that the world of the novel is worth observing, but also that there is an interesting friction between the narrator and her surroundings.