With exquisite, piercing prose, Asymmetry is the story of a young woman, Alice, just beginning her publishing career who meets a 70-something world-famous writer (who bears a striking resemblance to Philip Roth) on a New York City park bench. Their asymmetric relationship unfolds with gorgeous language, and is told through Alice’s perspective without revealing much about Alice herself. The second section of the book is seemingly separate: a monologue from Amar Jaafari, an Iraqi-American, who is detained in Heathrow Airport. The challenge is up to the reader to connect these outwardly asymmetric stories, and must struggle not to blink and miss the link between the two tales. Beyond clever and subtle, Lisa Halliday manages a stunning debut.