Reading Deborah Levy's Swimming Home
is as unsettling as skating across a thinly frozen pond. You know you will fall through, tumbling into the deep, murky waters below the story's surface, but you are never sure exactly when or how. Levy sets her novel, which spans merely eight days - Saturday to Saturday - in a tourist villa shared by two couples in the Alpes-Maritimes. Against the backdrop of this clichéd and innocuous setting, she spins a richly plotted, darkly humorous, and disturbing tale of psychological unraveling. Levy's characters swim rather than skate, but the water into which they dive is no less turbulent.
Staying at the villa are the aging, philandering poet Joseph Jacobs, his war correspondent wife Isabel, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Nina, who stands at the edge of her sexuality in a cherry-print bikini. Joe has a past, tied to his...
Beyond the Book
Naomi Benaron, whose Bellwether Prize winning first novel,
Running the Rift, is set during the Rwandan genocide, chats with Deborah Levy about her latest novel,
First, I would like to congratulate you on all your honors for Swimming Home
: shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize and shortlisted for National Book Awards Author of the Year.
There is a quote from your interview with Gareth Evans that I love: "If I let 'the market' write my books for me and tell me what I think and how you think and what we are like, what kind of conversation would I be having with my readers? What kind of conversation would they be having with me?" In light of this, how do you see your...