The stories in Black Vodka, by acclaimed author Deborah Levy, are perfectly formed worlds unto themselves, written in elegant yet economical prose. She is a master of the short story, exploring loneliness and belonging; violence and tenderness; the ephemeral and the solid; the grotesque and the beautiful; love and infidelity; and fluid identities national, cultural, and personal.
In "Shining a Light," a woman's lost luggage is juxtaposed with far more serious losses. An icy woman seduces a broken man in "Vienna," and a man's empathy threatens to destroy him in "Stardust Nation." "Cave Girl" features a girl who wants to be a different kind of woman - she succeeds in a shocking way. A deformed man seeks beauty amid his angst in the title story.
These are twenty-first century lives dissected with razor-sharp humor and curiosity. Published simultaneously with Things I Don't Want to Know: On Writing, Levy's stories will send you tumbling into a rabbit hole, and you won't be able to scramble out until long after you've turned the last page.
"Starred Review. Levy provides fragmentary glimpses into the fascinating lives of people at odds with their surroundings and profoundly disturbed by their previous experiences. Edgy, unsettling, and intoxicating." - Library Journal
"[Levy's] precision and unusual imagination are well suited to the short story form... Levy's talent is evident throughout - though the stories themselves can be unsettling, their evocative language invites the reader to settle in." - Publishers Weekly
"One of the most exciting voices in contemporary British fiction...sophisticated and astringent." - The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
"These ominous, odd, erotic stories burrow deep into your brain." - Financial Times (UK)
"A sexy hauteur in Deborah Levy's prose [is] reminiscent of the voice of Marianne Faithfull. The rasping, deadpan delivery of these ten new stories emit a dreamy harshness at once jaded and invigorating." - New Statesman
"Fabulously jolting... Accomplished and uncanny... Powerful." - The Guardian (UK)
"Levy's sparse, elegant stories are poetic and faintly surreal." - The Sunday Times
"Deborah Levy showed she is a top-hitting novelist with a Man Booker Prize shortlist place for Swimming Home. Can she conquer the genre which demands she fashion perfect jewels? ... Yes, Levy can do macro - and microcosm. These tales of unconventional love reinforce her reputation as a major contemporary writer who never pulls her punches." - The Independent (UK)
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Deborah Levy was born in 1959 in South Africa, where her father was a member of the African National Congress, an academic, and a historian. The family emigrated to Wembley Park, England in 1968. Her parents divorced in 1974
Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts, leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, including Pax, Heresies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and and was director and writer for Manact Theatre Company, Cardiff
In 1986, at the age of 27, she wrote and published her first novel Beautiful Mutants. Her second novel, Swallowing Geography, was published in 1993, while her third one, Billy and Girl, was published in 1996. Swimming Home, her latest novel, was published in 2011 and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.
She has always written across a...
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