I jumped on this new book by Levy since I was such a huge fan of Hot Milk. Her latest is one of the most unique and unusual books I have read both in structure and content. It is intellectual but accessible; complex without being indecipherable; dark but strangely pleasant; and at times quite amusing. The book is a captivating and sly take on what it means to look back on one’s life and try to make sense of it all. Recommended By Nan S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Longlisted for the Booker Prize
An electrifying novel about beauty, envy, and carelessness from Deborah Levy, author of the Booker Prize finalists Hot Milk and Swimming Home.
It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a narcissistic young historian, has been invited to Communist East Berlin to do research; in exchange, he must publish a favorable essay about the German Democratic Republic. As a gift for his translator's sister, a Beatles fanatic who will be his host, Saul's girlfriend will shoot a photograph of him standing in the crosswalk on Abbey Road, an homage to the famous album cover. As he waits for her to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life.
The Man Who Saw Everything is about the difficulty of seeing ourselves and others clearly. It greets the specters that come back to haunt old and new love, previous and current incarnations of Europe, conscious and unconscious transgressions, and real and imagined betrayals, while investigating the cyclic nature of history and its reinvention by people in power. Here, Levy traverses the vast reaches of the human imagination while artfully blurring sexual and political binaries-feminine and masculine, East and West, past and present — to reveal the full spectrum of our world.
"[An] utterly beguiling fever dream of a novel, which revisits aspects of Europe's authoritarian 20th-century history through the delirium of one man's shattered mind... The Man Who Saw Everything is an intricate jigsaw, full of pieces that tantalizingly never quite fit together." Daily Telegraph
"A superbly crafted, enigmatic new story from an author of note.... Head-spinning and playful yet translucent, Levy's writing offers sophistication and delightful artistry." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Elliptical, elusive and endlessly stimulating" The Washington Post
"Booker Prize-finalist Levy (Hot Milk) explores the fragile connections and often vast chasms between self and others in this playful, destabilizing, and consistently surprising novel... Levy's novel brilliantly explores the parallels between personal and political history, and prompts questions about how one sees oneself — and what others see." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. The author of highly praised novels, including Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl, the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka, and two parts of her working autobiography, Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living, she lives in London. Levy is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.