Here is a collection of some of my published books which include short extracts. Some books also have a link to a streaming mp3 recording of a short reading.
Where available for purchase on-line appropriate links have been included.
The latest book from the Man Booker Prize 2012 and BBC International Short Story Award 2012 shortlisted Deborah Levy
Black Vodka shortisted for the 2013 The Frank O'Connor - International Short Story Award
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 gardens, birds sing in computer start-up sounds; in ad-land, 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.
"Kissing you is like new paint and old pain. It is like coffee and car alarms and a dim stairway and a stain and it's like smoke."
"In Deborah Levy's latest collection, Black Vodka, are ten stories which open up her world. They are stories about trying to find out who we are in the course of our everyday lives, and about how we can remain deeply imprinted by those who are close to us. Here, as in her previous plays, stories and novels, her writing exhibits a rhetorical severity which, at its best, has a mythic, lullaby quality, experimental and at the same time simple and beautiful."
Alex Christofi at The literateur
"There is a sexy hauteur in Deborah Levy's prose reminiscent of the voice of Marianne Faithfull"
Catherine Taylor at The New Statesman
"I really like your blue dress." He asks her when she is returning to the UK. She tells him she is leaving later that evening. "Uh huh," he says. "Then tonight you will kiss yourself good night. And I will kiss myself good night."
Shining a Light, an exclusive preview from Black Vodka at fleeting magazine
"Black Vodka is a ravishing read, and can be slurped down in one sitting; like all great modern short stories, Levy's tales are served with an intrinsic emotional complexity that subtly nourishes the reader's mind. ...It is the inner darkness that unexpectedly erupts from the commonplace that makes Black Vodka intoxicating - Levy disturbs whatever sense of comfort that her readers might find in the familiar."
Sara D'Arcy at review31
"Black Vodka is an inexhaustible feast. Its richness can be ascribed in part to that style of weighted reticence we sense at work in Swimming Home."
Kevin Breathnach at The Stinging Fly
Selected Black Vodka links...
Buy Black Vodka from Amazon
Things I Don't Want To Know
THINGS I DON'T WANT TO KNOW - A response to George Orwell's 1946 essay WHY I WRITE (Penguin) and Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN.
Deborah Levy's rich response to George Orwell's famous 1946 essay "Why I Write" is unmissable.
Like Orwell, Levy is entertaining and makes his categories her chapter headings. But, unlike Orwell, she is not steadily organised. She is a maker not a clearer up of mysteries. And she is fugitive. It is this that gives the book its subtle, unpredictable, surprising atmosphere.
Kate Kellaway at The Guardian
Here, writing is a way of dealing with the experiences of injustice and despair, and perhaps with the underlying realisation that as an author, one often ends up being drawn towards such sadness the only way to process the "knowledge that we cannot bear to live with", by trying to render it itself something useful or beautiful, or both. Even if Levy does not draw any categorical principles in the manner of Orwell, this sensitive conclusion ought to resonate with any writers who care to remember how they became socially aware.
Juliet Jacques at New Statesman
Deborah Levy's Things I Don't Want To Know is a beautiful account of how a young girl brought up in apartheid-era South Africa overcame her inhibitions about self-expression to become a novelist. It'll take an afternoon to read but will stay with you for years.
Gerald Jacobs at The Jewish Chronicle Online
I find myself utterly captivated by Deborah Levy's Things I Don't Want to Know, a profound and vivid little volume that is less about the craft of writing than the necessity of making literature.
David L. Ulin at LA Times
Few essayists have the courage and talent to go head-to-head with George Orwell. Deborah Levy's response to Orwell's iconic piece "Why I Write" is at once a feminist call to arms, a touching memoir of small moments, and a guide to writing fiction from one of literature's bravest rulebreakers.
Rather than, say, telling the reader to show rather than tell, she declines to tell us anything and then shows us a great deal. What results is much more valuable than any literal writing guide or any literal response to Orwell would have been. It certainly has greater political import.
Selected Things I Don't Want To Know links...
The Man Booker 2012
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
The 2012 Man Booker shortlist also includes; Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, Umbrella by Will Self, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, The Lighthouse by Alison Moore and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.
A taut, cinematic novel from an acclaimed writer
As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe's enigmatic wife allow her to remain?
"This is an intelligent, pulsating literary beast."
Philip Womack at The Telegraph
Swimming Home... "unfolds with all the restrained, cool assurance of French nouvelle vague cinema, but this is tempered by an urgent optimism, an unashamedly compassionate portrayal of lives losing their way."
Scott Morris at Cadaverine
"Readers will have to resist the temptation to hurry up in order to find out what happens during and after Joe and Kitty's wild ride along the coast because 'Swimming Home' should be read with care. So many of its important events occur in the spaces between chapters that it's easy to overlook how thoroughly they've been prepared for. Our reward is the enjoyable, if unsettling, experience of being pitched into the deep waters of Levy's wry, accomplished novel."
Francine Prose at New York Times Book Review
"Swimming Home reminded me of Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. Although a short work, it has an epic quality. This is a prizewinner."
Julia Pascal at The Independent
"The seductive pleasure of Levy's prose stems from its layered brilliance. These are deceptively simple scenes - floating around the pool, walking into town, sitting at a cafe - but they all reward rereading. Levy moves her characters in and out of focus, always one step ahead of our sympathies, ready at any point to disrupt a conversation with some evocative revelation."
Ron Charles at Washington Post
"Swimming Home is perilous, teetering on the brink of dream and wakefulness, of metaphor and literal, of medicated health and unmedicated madness, of childhood and adulthood, of life and death. Water is both a refuge and a prison. Dive in, submerge yourself, and feel it surround you."
"Swimming Home is distinguished by Levy's light but compressed narrative method: the chapters and indeed the sentences are short, and reading them does not feel like labor, but they contain more narrative information and thus emotional potency than is at first obvious. The effect is, if I had to venture a rash metaphor, like skipping stones over a mined harbor."
Selected Swimming Home links...
Buy Swimming Home from Amazon
Pillow Talk In Europe And Other Places
"Levy is a a master writer, and 'Pillow Talk' just might be her best book yet. This collection is a delicate treasure"
"Lively, sharp, remarkably evocative with very few words, Levy is the best kind of 'modern' writer"
6 Small Acts for Big Women
City A -Z
City A-Z is a unique compendium of specially commissioned pieces of writing, with contributions from many of the leading names in urban culture, geography and sociology.
Diary of a Steak
"one of the best English writers of her generation."
Buy this book from Bookworks
Billy & Girl
"contemporary, sassy, profoundly serious"
An arresting, mysterious, hypnotising novel by the Man Booker-shortlisted writer Deborah Levy. 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.
"All of Deborah Levy is here. The narrative is constructed around the investigation of a murder, but its resolution is somehow incidental to the sadness, sexuality and violence with which every stunning sentence is charged. ('What are the right words to describe the kind of torture she knows the ex-military man practises on his wife?') Indeed, while the setting of Rouen suggests touristic homage to Flaubert, the gestures the text makes to the Sadean eroticism of Desclos's The Story of O are much more profound, not to say graphic. The body is such an important unit in Levy's work, forever at work to express latent psychological trauma. She is certainly no Cartesian."
"The undertones of violence and torture resound through all the strands of the novel, sometimes in fantasy, often in reality. Levy's preoccupation with them, and with sex (in all its weird and imaginative manifestations), allows her to explore the ways in which human beings can cross another borderline: into each other's bodies. It brings a sense of knife-edge tension to a novel that is ultimately about the gulf between the loved and 'the unloved', and the prose at times takes on almost biblical resonances. Levy attempts to convey the loneliness at the heart of human existence and the damage wrought by the absence of love."
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.
"One of the few contemporary British writers comfortable on a world stage."
New Statesman and Society
"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"
An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell
She is a shimmering, melancholy angel, flown from Paradise to save him from the suburbs of hell. He an accountant, dreaming of a white Christmas, a little garden and someone to love. She attempts to fly him away from his habits and fears, while he holds on tight to all he knows.
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.
"I loved this effervescent dialogue between she and he, angel and accountant, wild desire and the (ever more desirable) quotidian. It's Deborah Levy at her wise, witty and playful best. Read it and be seduced away from (or back into) the suburbs of hell."
Lisa Appignanesi, author of All About Love
"Levy just gets it entirely - the whole business of drab and yet compelling routine, and the fear of the inestimable, the longing nonetheless, the surrender each day to the ordinary, dispersing the dream, only to dream it again. An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell encapsulates all of this, redeems the crumpled weary mortal, sends him into a wild realm of uncertainty, satirises him, lavishes him with affection. A crazily beautiful, astonishing, original work of art."
Joanna Kavenna, author of Come to the Edge
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.
"It throbs its way into the imagination like the unguided missiles it decries."
Ophelia and The Great Idea
"innovative, full of raw energy and passionate engagement"
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