Today, it’s my turn on the blog tour for Deborah Levy’s brilliant new novel, The Man Who Saw Everything.
This book was recently long-listed for this year’s Booker Prize but sadly didn’t make it on the shortlist this week. But first, what’s it about? Here’s the synopsis:
‘Hello, Saul. How’s it going?’
‘I’m trying to cross the road,’ I replied.
‘Yes,’ she said, ‘you’ve been trying to cross the road for thirty years but stuff happened on the way.’
In 1988, Saul Adler, is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road.
Saul leaves to study in communist East Berlin, two months before the Wall comes down. There he will encounter both his assigned translator and his translator’s sister, who swears she has seen a jaguar prowling the city. He will fall in love and brood upon his difficult, authoritarian father, and he will befriend a hippy who may or may not be a Stasi agent, but will certainly return to haunt him in middle age.
Slipping slyly between time zones and leaving a spiralling trial, Deborah Levy’s electrifying The Man Who Saw Everything examines what we see and what we fail to see, the grave crime of carelessness, the weight of history and our ruinous attempts to shrug it off.
Sounds good, right?! I’m new to Deborah Levy, she’s for me, one of those authors I’ve always meant to read but I just never got round to it! But I’ve been reading more author’s with a big back catalogue such as Ali Smith and Deborah Levy’s books sounds like books that I would love. I was so drawn to The Man Who Saw Everything – the gorgeous cover and the story itself just gripped me straight away.
As soon as I started it, I was hooked. I loved the characters, especially Saul and Jennifer. I loved the way Levy wrote them and their relationship and the dynamic between them both. As I’m new to Levy and her books, I’m not used to her writing style but I loved it straight away. No words are wasted. It’s full of energy, Levy has created a wonderful world with these characters. She goes to different countries, time zones but she does it brilliantly. You really get lost in the story and keep turning the page to find out what happens next. It’s a short book too so you could read this in a day – it’s one of those books that you can race through.
I find it quite hard to write a review about this book if I’m honest as for me, I didn’t really appreciate it until I finished it… does that make sense? There is so much layers, so many little details to focus on that you don’t necessarily pick out when you first read it. But I’m not saying this in a negative way – at all. It’s one of my books of the year, that’s for sure. I think it’s a true masterpiece as there is so many layers within this book and it’s characters and Levy controls everything – she never misses a beat.
There are so many themes in this book but one of them I really enjoyed was being a muse – especially in terms of Saul and Jennifer and their relationship dynamic. I found that completely fascinating – it explores male beauty and a lot more which makes a fascinating read.
I can’t wait to re-read this gem of a book. It’s a small book that covers a lot of ground and definitely packs a punch. I loved it, a lot. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I finished reading. It’s a book that will make you a feel every type of emotion and there might be a little of Brexit in there for good measure, too. I was so sad not to see this on the shortlist but what a book. Completely timeless and electric.
The Man Who Saw Everything is out now! A big thank you to Viking for my copy and the spot on the blog tour – I loved this book!
Have you read The Man Who Saw Everything? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!