From the Author of The Idiot comes the most sped-fast and thought-provoking sequel, Either/Or. Elif Batuman explores universal societal pressures through her narrator and doesn’t step away from the challenge of facing them head-on. Through witty language, Batuman provides readers with the brain-engaging task of keeping up. Penguin Random House recently released the novel in May, and although it’s a sequel, its countless rave reviews make it feel as if it were stand-alone.
About Elif Batuman
Fiction Writer and Essayist Elif Batuman has written about various topics spanning her entire career. Batuman was born June 7th, 1977, in New York City, New York and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard College and attended Stanford University, where she received her Ph.D. in comparative literature. Elif Batuman has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2010. According to The New Yorker, her work relates to subjects including “Epictetus, dung beetles, a Turkish village’s women’s-theatre group, and the Japanese rental-relative industry.” Her first novel set her apart from the essayist voice we were used to reading from her.
Elif Batuman’s semi-autobiographical first novel, The Idiot, became a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the UK. Recently, the novel became a fan favorite as it has since trended on leading media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram.
In addition to being a best-selling author, Batuman wrote the essay collection, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. The book offers a fresh perspective from great writers in autobiographical form with extensive literary criticism. Hence, the collection became a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. Elif Batuman has since received many honors like a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a Paris Review Terry Southern Prize for Humor. It is no surprise that she is one of the most admired writers of her generation.
The Witty Sequel
Following her best-selling novel The Idiot, Eli Batuman released the mystified sequel, Either/Or. It might be hard to compete with the literary fiction fan favorite, but Batuman’s brilliant storytelling never lacks a quest. This continued quest is one of self-knowledge as the novel picks up at the start of the protagonist Selin’s sophomore year of college. While the first novel dwells on the emotional conscious of Selin’s freshman year, the sequel embarks on a journey outside herself.
For new readers or those who may need a reminder, Selin was born in America and is the daughter of Turkish immigrants. She is the only one in her family able to attend Harvard. While spending most of her first year taking classes with subjects she’s never heard of and traveling abroad over the summer, she started to unpack every emotional moment. Her most impending doom from that year came from her first love. That, and her inevitable fate to become a writer.
A World of Wonder
Either/Or begins with the dreaded start of her sophomore year. However, Selin becomes more disciplined as time passes. She is willing to face the meaning of everything that happened over the summer, no matter the outcome. As she reflects on the summer, we see how her inner world unravels by incessant questions. On her journey of self-knowledge, Selin finds how the importance of parties, alcohol, and sex dissipates with experience. Every experience becomes a new chapter in her life as a writer. The novel’s quizzical nature will force readers into a thought-provoking journey of one’s faded youth into adulthood.
Elif Batuman is one of the new leading authors in literary fiction, and her novels have proven it. Penguin Random House published Either/Or on May 24th, 2022. The fast-moving, comical, and philosophical rich novel will keep you wanting more. We look forward to hearing what you think about the sequel.
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