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As the title suggests, Elif Batuman's novel explores linguistics and Russian literature through the eyes of a young Harvard undergraduate, Selin. The character falls in love with an older, neurotic Hungarian mathematics student, and travels to his country to be near him. It is occasionally humorous, and describes a rite of passage - but no more than that. Unfortunately, at times it is rather banal and tedious.
While Batuman's writing is to be desired, the content fell short as the narrative varies between sharp and rambling. The naivety of Selin also appears slightly unbelievable, and would probably be better geared at a younger audience.
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