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,
About the Author
Deborah Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts before becoming a playwright. Her plays include Pax, Heresies, Clam, Call Blue Jane, Shiny Nylon, Honey Baby Middle England, Pushing the Prince into Denmark and Macbeth-False Memories. She has also written some novels and was a Fellow in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989-1991.
“A superbly crafted, enigmatic new story from an author of note…In a relatively short book, Levy spins an extraordinary web of connection, a dreamscape in which plangent images like a pearl necklace, a spilled drink, or the petals of a tree recur like soft chimes…Head-spinning and playful yet translucent, Levy's writing offers sophistication and delightful artistry. Levy defies gravity in a daring, time-bending new novel.”” —Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“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.” —Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“There is no way to succinctly summarize this slim book and adequately convey how it manages to hold exquisitely actual multiverses within its pages… A brilliant, blistering, bold look at identity, relationships, and time; a perfect puzzle of a novel.” —Nylon
“[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… Nominated for this year's Booker Prize, The Man Who Saw Everything is an intricate jigsaw, full of pieces that tantalizingly never quite fit together. . . In writing that is as clear as a stream yet also full of withheld meaning, Levy suggests that the grief and guilt inside Saul . . . is connected to Europe's legacy of persecution, paranoia, and totalitarianism.” —Daily Telegraph
“Deborah Levy's intelligent and supple latest novel, The Man Who Saw Everything, recently longlisted for the Booker Prize… is stunningly disorienting, fascinating . . . the balance shifts through Levy's skillful, dizzying storytelling.” —The Financial Times
“[Levy is] an indelible writer.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
“The seductive pleasure of Levy's prose stems from its layered brilliance.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Ms. Levy is a stealthy storyteller, lulling us while busy scattering clues.” —The New York Times
“Levy's sense of dramatic form . . . is unerring, and her precise, dispassionate prose effortlessly summons people and landscapes.” —The New Yorker
“This is a writer who has found her voice and her subject, and both speak directly to our times.” —Heller McAlpin, Los Angeles Times
“To build her characters, Levy deconstructs them, peeling back layers and slinking effortlessly from one inner life to the next.” —Denver Post