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Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she is the author of highly praised books including Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography (both Jonathan Cape) and Billy and Girl (Bloomsbury).
Author photo © Sheila Burnett
In 1988 Saul Adler (a narcissistic, young historian) is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his art student girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road. Saul leaves to study in communist East Berlin, two months before the Wall comes down. There he will encounter - significantly - both his assigned translator and his translator's sister, who swears she has seen a jaguar prowling the city. He will fall in love and brood upon his difficult, authoritarian father. And he will befriend a hippy, Rainer, who may or may not be a Stasi agent, but will certainly return to haunt him in middle age. Slipping slyly between time zones and leaving a spiralling trail, Deborah Levy's electrifying The Man Who Saw Everything examines what we see and what we fail to see, the grave crime of carelessness, the weight of history and our ruinous attempts to shrug it off.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016 SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2016 Plunge into this hypnotic tale of female sexuality and power - from the Man Booker shortlisted author of Swimming Home Two women arrive in a village on the Spanish coast. Rose is suffering from a strange illness andher doctors are mystified. Her daughter Sofia has brought her here to find a cure with the infamous and controversial Dr Gomez - a man of questionable methods and motives. Intoxicated by thick heat and the seductive people who move through it, both women begin to see their lives clearly for the first time in years.
A richly mythic, colour-saturated tale of mothers and daughters from the Man Booker-short-listed author of Swimming Home. Today I dropped my laptop on the concrete floor. It was tucked under my arm and slid out of its black rubber sheath, landing screen-side down. The digital page shattered. Apparently there's a man in the next flyblown town who mends computers. He could send off for a new screen, which would take a month to arrive. Will I still be here in a month? My mother is sleeping under a mosquito net in the next room. Soon she will wake up and shout, 'Sofia, get me a glass of water', and I will get her water and it will be the wrong sort of water. And then after a while I will leave her and return to gaze at the shattered starfield of my screen. Two women arrive in a Spanish village - a dreamlike place caught between the desert and the ocean - seeking medical advice and salvation. One of the strangers suffers from a mysterious illness: spontaneous paralysis confines her to a wheelchair, her legs unusable. The other, her daughter Sofia, has spent years playing the reluctant detective in this mystery, struggling to understand her mother's illness. Surrounded by the oppressive desert heat and the mesmerising figures who move through it, Sofia waits while her mother undergoes the strange programme of treatments invented by Dr Gomez. Searching for a cure to a defiant and quite possibly imagined disease, ever more entangled in the seductive, mercurial games of those around her, Sofia finally comes to confront and reconcile the disparate fragments of her identity. Hot Milk is a labyrinth of violent desires, primal impulses, and surreally persuasive internal logic. Examining female rage and sexuality, Deborah Levy's dazzling new novel explores the strange and monstrous nature of motherhood, testing the bonds of parent and child to breaking point
March 2013 Short Story Collection of the Month. Ten elegant, witty yet unsettling short stories explore the dislocations of modern life. From the pain it can bring to the fear of not being cool or in control. Deborah Levy was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize with Swimming Home. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher on Black Vodka and Swimming Home...'In Swimming Home, the ripples just keep on spreading. What first captivated me about this novel was its sure-handed concision, which, instead of warding off strangeness, actually created a space where the real strangeness of life was allowed to show. Yet every time I hear from another excited reader, Swimming Home has shown them something else again: the place of foreignness in different characters, where the madness lies and why, who is tied to whom, new talismanic objects and words, brand-new literary connections, hooking the story back into a great history of stories. The further I plumb this slim fiction, the greater depths it reveals.Which is why Deborah Levy’s new collection, Black Vodka: ten stories, is both a joy and a relief. A joy because that same rare taste for strangeness can be savoured again on every page; a relief because my tightly plotted mental map of Levy’s fathomless world can now open out into a range of new places, new characters and new moods. Many of the stories in Black Vodka obliquely take up themes also in Swimming Home: childhood displacements, psychological connections and disconnections, the burdens of history, the difficulty of staying in love. But they give you new ways of thinking about these things. In a way, Black Vodka allows us to read Levy’s world through a fresh new set of prisms.'Sophie Lewis, Editor, And Other Stories31st January 2013
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012. Swimming Home is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a single week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams. Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'UK Author of the Year' 2012. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher on Black Vodka and Swimming Home...'In Swimming Home, the ripples just keep on spreading. What first captivated me about this novel was its sure-handed concision, which, instead of warding off strangeness, actually created a space where the real strangeness of life was allowed to show. Yet every time I hear from another excited reader, Swimming Home has shown them something else again: the place of foreignness in different characters, where the madness lies and why, who is tied to whom, new talismanic objects and words, brand-new literary connections, hooking the story back into a great history of stories. The further I plumb this slim fiction, the greater depths it reveals.Which is why Deborah Levy’s new collection, Black Vodka: ten stories, is both a joy and a relief. A joy because that same rare taste for strangeness can be savoured again on every page; a relief because my tightly plotted mental map of Levy’s fathomless world can now open out into a range of new places, new characters and new moods. Many of the stories in Black Vodka obliquely take up themes also in Swimming Home: childhood displacements, psychological connections and disconnections, the burdens of history, the difficulty of staying in love. But they give you new ways of thinking about these things. In a way, Black Vodka allows us to read Levy’s world through a fresh new set of prisms.' Sophie Lewis, Editor, And Other Stories31st January 2013
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012. Swimming Home is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidious harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a single week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams.
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019 SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2019 'An ice-cold skewering of patriarchy, humanity and the darkness of the 20th century Europe' The Times 'It's like this, Saul Adler.' 'No, it's like this, Jennifer Moreau.' In 1988, Saul Adler is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. Apparently fine, he gets up and poses for a photograph taken by his girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. He carries this photo with him to East Berlin: a fragment of the present, an anchor to the West. But in the GDR he finds himself troubled by time - stalked by the spectres of history, slipping in and out of a future that does not yet exist. Until, in 2016, Saul attempts to cross the Abbey Road again... 'A time-bending, location-hopping tale of love, truth and the power of seeing. Thoroughly gripping' Sunday Telegraph 'Writing so beautiful it stops the reader on the page' Independent 'Levy splices time in artfully believable, mesmerizing strokes' Lambda Literary 'Skewering totalitarianism - from the state, to the family, to the strictures of the male gaze - Levy explodes conventional narrative to explore the individual's place and culpability within history' Guardian 'An utterly beguiling fever dream' Daily Telegraph
'An exciting writer, sharp and shocking as the knives her characters wield' Sunday Times Like her namesake Jack Kerouac, J.K. is always on the road, travelling Europe with her typewriter in a pillowcase. From J.K.'s irreverent, ironic perspective, Levy charts a new, dizzying, end-of-the-century world of shifting boundaries and displaced peoples. 'Levy is a brilliant writer' Telegraph 'Levy's strength is her originality of thought and expression' Jeanette Winterson
A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century The powerful second memoir from the twice-Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home 'Life falls apart. We try to get a grip and hold it together. And then we realise we don't want to hold it together . . .' 'At the age of 50 and after decades of north London family-making, Levy finds herself cast adrift from her marriage and, crucially, without any desire to swim back. It is the story of every woman throughout history who has expended her love and labour on making a home that turns out to serve the needs of everyone except herself. Wonderful. Not so much a memoir as an eloquent manifesto for what Levy calls a new way of living ' Guardian 'Wise, subtle and ironic, Levy's every sentence is a masterpiece of clarity and poise . . . a brilliant writer' Daily Telegraph 'A graceful and lyrical rumination on the questions, What is a woman for? What should a woman be? ' Tatler 'I can't think of any writer aside from Virginia Woolf who writes better about what it is to be a woman' Observer 'Extraordinary and beautiful, suffused with wit and razor sharp insights' Financial Times 'A heady, absorbing read' Evening Standard
'Unmissable. Like chancing upon an oasis, you want to drink it slowly... Subtle, unpredictable, surprising' Guardian Things I Don't Want to Know is the first in Deborah Levy's essential three-part 'Living Autobiography' on writing and womanhood. Taking George Orwell's famous essay, 'Why I Write', as a jumping-off point, Deborah Levy offers her own indispensable reflections of the writing life. With wit, clarity and calm brilliance, she considers how the writer must stake claim to that contested territory as a young woman and shape it to her need. Things I Don't Want to Know is a work of dazzling insight and deep psychological succour, from one of our most vital contemporary writers. 'Superb sharpness and originality of imagination. An inspiring work of writing' Marina Warner
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Things I Dont Want to Know by Deborah Levy. Things I Dont Want to Know is the first in Deborah Levys essential three-part Living Autobiography on writing and womanhood. Taking George Orwells famous essay, Why I Write, as a jumping-off point, Deborah Levy offers her own indispensable reflections of the writing life. With wit, clarity and calm brilliance, she considers how the writer must stake claim to that contested territory as a young woman and shape it to her need. Things I Dont Want to Know is a work of dazzling insight and deep psychological succour, from one of our most vital contemporary writers. Unmissable. Like chancing upon an oasis, you want to drink it slowly... Subtle, unpredictable, surprising Guardian Superb sharpness and originality of imagination. An inspiring work of writing Marina Warner
Shortlist des Man Booker Prize - die psychologisch faszinierende Geschichte einer Mutter-Tochter-Beziehung.Eine junge Frau begleitet ihre Mutter nach Spanien, wo diese in einer Spezialklinik behandelt werden soll, da die Beine ihr den Dienst versagen. Doch ist das Leiden der Mutter wirklich physischer Natur, oder versucht sie, ihre Tochter an sich zu binden?Dr. Gomez gilt als Koryphe, deshalb reisen die beiden Englnderinnen nach Andalusien, wo sich Rose in Behandlung begibt. Sofia, deren griechischer Vater die Familie vor Jahren verlie versucht zu ergrnden, woran ihre Mutter erkrankt ist und wo sie selbst steht. Beim Schwimmen im Meer, das voller Medusen ist, in Gesprchen mit Dr. Gomez oder dessen Tochter wird ihr immer klarer, dass sie sich von ihrer Mutter befreien muss. Als sie die Deutsche Ingrid kennenlernt, die selbstbewusst und unkonventionell ihr Leben lebt, trifft Sofia Entscheidungen. Ein Roman ber eine allzu enge Mutter-Tochter-Beziehung, ber Abhngigkeit und Emanzipation und ber die Suche nach Identitt, ein Buch, das wie ein Quallenbiss brennt und noch lange nachwirkt. Deborah Levy, die Autorin von "e;Heim schwimmen"e;, wurde fr diesen Roman mehrfach ausgezeichnet und fr den Man Booker Prize nominiert. "e;Ein Roman, der in seiner Klarheit an Virginia Woolf erinnert"e; The Guardian
Beautiful Mutants, Deborah Levy's feverish allegory of a first novel, introduces a manipulative and magical Russian exile who summons forth a series of grotesques--among them the Poet, the Banker, and the Anorexic Anarchist. Levy explores the anxieties that pervaded the 1980s: exile and emigration, broken dreams, crazed greed and the first seeds of the global financial crisis, self-destructive desires, and the disintegration of culture. In Swallowing Geography, J. K., like her namesake Jack Kerouac, is always on the road, traveling Europe with her typewriter in a pillowcase. She wanders, meeting friends and strangers, battling her raging mother, and taking in the world through her uniquely irreverent, ironic perspective. Levy blends fairytale with biting satire, pushing at the edges of reality and marveling at where the world collapses in on itself. In The Unloved, a group of hedonistic tourists--from Algeria, England, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and America--gathers to celebrate the holidays in a remote French chateau. Then a woman is brutally murdered, and the sad, eerie child Tatiana declares she knows who did it. The subsequent inquiry into the death, however, proves to be more of an investigation into the nature of identity, love, insatiable rage, and sadistic desire.
'Elisa said Yes and I said Yes. We said Yes in all the European languages. Yes. We said yes we said yes, yes to vague but powerful things, we said yes to hope which has to be vague, we said yes to love which is always blind, we smiled and said yes without blinking.' ('A Better Way to Live') ----------- How does love change us? And how do we change ourselves for love - or for lack of it? Ten stories by acclaimed author Deborah Levy explore these delicate, impossible questions. In Vienna, an icy woman seduces a broken man; in London, a bird mimics an old-fashioned telephone; in adland, a sleek copywriter becomes a kind of shaman. These are twenty-first century lives dissected with razor-sharp humour and curiosity, stories about what it means to live and love, together and alone.
For the high-flying, heavy-drinking advertising boss Tom Banbury, the art of persuasion relies on an infiltration of the consumer's mind. In the case of his colleague and confidante Nikos Gazidis, the overdeveloped sense of empathy that makes him so well suited to the business has resulted in a strange psychiatric condition. Nick has unwittingly crashed into the consciousness of his boss. While Tom drinks to forget the troubles of his earthly life, Nick is forced to confront a past that is not his own: a childhood scarred by the small wars waged by an abusive father-and by the events that brought these battles to a close. When Nick enters the panicked silence of the Abbey, a fortress for the rich and unstable, his sister guards him from the visiting Tom Banbury. But can this peculiar bond be broken? Or has Nikos Gazidis taken an empathetic leap too far?
Eine mutige, von keinen auer den eigenen Regeln geleitete Autorin hebt ein wenig den Vorhang: Um fur die Welt stark genug, um fur das Schreiben gewappnet zu sein, muss man ein paar Reisen unternehmen und auf mancher Rolltreppe den Tranen freien Lauf lassen. Deborah Levy hat whrend ihrer Kindheit in Sdafrika nur einen einzigen Schneemann gebaut - gemeinsam mit ihrem Vater, der noch am selben Tag wegen seiner Aktivitt fr den ANC verhaftet und ins Gefngnis gebracht wurde. Als er fnf Jahre spter entlassen wird, blickt er sich als Erstes im Garten seines alten Zuhauses nach der Stelle auf dem grnen Rasen um, wo der Schneemann damals gestanden hatte. Whrend dieser Zeit und im spteren Exil der Familie in England bleibt das junge Mdchen fast stumm, aber sie findet einen anderen Weg, sich auszudrcken. Wahrscheinlich gerade weil sie einen langen, auch beschwerlichen Weg bis zu ihrem heute beinahe schwerelosen Umgang mit den Worten zurckgelegt hat, wirkt Levys Sprache so klar. Offen, wie nur wenige Erzhlerinnen, umreit sie ihr Leben und ihre Rolle als Schriftstellerin, in der Kollision mit den Anforderungen als Mutter, Tochter, Ehefrau, Freundin.
She is a shimmering, tattooed and acerbic angel, flown from Paradise to save him from the suburbs of hell. He, an accountant worn down by the day-to-day struggles of the nine to five, is dreaming of a white Christmas, a little garden and someone to love. She attempts, with scornful wit, to shock him out of his commuter's habits and into an experience of ecstasy. Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this dystopian philosophical poem about individual freedom and the search for the good life.
'Perhaps when Orwell described sheer egoism as a necessary quality for a writer, he was not thinking about the sheer egoism of a female writer. Even the most arrogant female writer has to work over time to build an ego that is robust enough to get her through January, never mind all the way to December.' Deborah Levy
Wenn Menschen so viel unterwegs sind, dass sie bei der Frage nach ihrer Herkunft erstmal lange nachdenken oder am Flughafen vergessen, ob sie auf die Ankunfts- oder Abflugsanzeige schauen mussen, dann sind sie entweder uberall zu Hause oder nirgendwo. Die Figuren dieser zehn Geschichten bewegen sich zwischen Wien und Rom, Barcelona und Prag, und selbst ein Date in London muss zumindest im polnischen Club stattfinden. Unterwegs sein heit, vor Beziehungen auf der Flucht zu sein oder beim Kennenlernen schon an den Abschied zu denken und gar nicht erst hinter der coolen Fassade hervorzukriechen. Inmitten eines unaufgeregten und oft witzigen Geplnkels tut sich stets unmerklich ein Graben auf, ber den der Leser jedoch leicht hinberhpfen kann, denn die entscheidenden Informationen stehen bei Deborah Levy immer wohldosiert zwischen den Zeilen. Es liegt an uns, sie zu entziffern. Das Schalkhafte, das Melancholische und ganz besonders das Elegante in Levys Sprache hat die bersetzerin Barbara Schaden genau eingefangen.
Early Levy comprises two pioneering early works by Man Booker-shortlisted writer Deborah Levy. BEAUTIFUL MUTANTS Lapinski, a manipulative and magical Russian exile, summons forth a number of highly contemporary urban pilgrims. Through them, Levy explores broken dreams and self-destructive desires in a shimmering, dislocated allegory of its times. & SWALLOWING GEOGRAPHY Like her namesake Jack Kerouac, J.K. is always on the road, travelling Europe with her typewriter in a pillowcase. From J.K.'s irreverent, ironic perspective, Levy charts a new, dizzying, end-of-the-century world of shifting boundaries and displaced peoples. 'She storms through the back door, refusing to be weighed down with rationalist and aesthetic baggage . . . [This] is a world on the brink of destruction but it's going down with a barnyard laugh and an explosive extravagance of imagination' Blitz 'It throbs its way into the imagination like the unguided missile it decries' Observer on Beautiful Mutants Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she is the author of numerous highly praised books including Things I Don't Want to Know and The Unloved, both of which are now published by Penguin. Her novel Swimming Home was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards (UK Author of the Year) and 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize.
A hypnotising summer novel from the twice Man Booker-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home A group of hedonistic West European tourists gather to celebrate Christmas in a remote French chateau. Then an Englishwoman is brutally murdered, and the sad, eerie child Tatiana declares she knows who did it. The subsequent inquiry into the death proves to be more of an investigation into the nature of love, insatiable rage and sadistic desire. The Unloved offers a bold and revealing look at some of the events that shaped European and African history, and the perils of a future founded on concealed truth.
Es ist hei. Sehr hei. Sie sind aus London gekommen, um in einem Haus bei Nizza Ferien zu machen: Das Ehepaar Jozef und Isabel Jacobs, er Schriftsteller, sie Kriegsberichterstatterin; die beiden teilen schon lange nichts mehr, auer der Zeit, die sie miteinander verbracht haben. Ihre vierzehnjahrige Tochter Nina, die wenig von ihren Eltern halt, aber umso mehr in pubertare Gefuhlsschwankungen verstrickt ist. Schlielich ein befreundetes Ehepaar, dessen Laden gerade pleitegeht. Beste Voraussetzungen fur geruhsame Ferien. Tatschlich bricht schon bald das Unheil herein. Ein nackter Frauenkrper treibt im Schwimmbad. Aber diese junge Frau namens Kitty Finch ist nicht tot. Schwankend zwischen verletzlich und exaltiert, nistet sich die selbsternannte Botanikerin mit den grngelackten Ngeln in der Villa ein und mischt die ohnehin komplizierte Lage auf. Und sie wnscht sich nichts mehr, als dass der Dichter sich mit ihr und ihrem Gedicht "e;Heim schwimmen"e; beschftigt. Deborah Levy gelingt es, in 160 Seiten und sieben erzhlten Tagen ein beunruhigendes und doch vertrautes Familienpanorama zu zeichnen - unbehauste Personen, unfhig zu einem gemeinsamen Zuhause. Ein wahrer Albtraum, wre das Buch nicht voller witziger Episoden und komischer Figuren.
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