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Deborah Levy - book author

Deborah Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, highly acclaimed for their "intellectual rigour, poetic fantasy and visual imagination", including PAX, HERESIES for the Royal Shakespeare Company, CLAM, CALL BLUE JANE, SHINY NYLON, HONEY BABY MIDDLE ENGLAND, PUSHING THE PRINCE INTO DENMARK and MACBETH-FALSE MEMORIES, some of which are published in LEVY: PLAYS 1 (Methuen)

Deborah wrote and published her first novel BEAUTIFUL MUTANTS (Vintage), when she was 27 years old. The experience of not having to give her words to a director, actors and designer to interpret, was so exhilarating, she wrote a few more. These include, SWALLOWING GEOGRAPHY, THE UNLOVED (Vintage) and BILLY and GIRL (Bloomsbury). She has always written across a number of art forms (see Bookworks and Collaborations with visual artists) and was Fellow in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989-1991.

Deborah Levy is the author of books: Hot Milk, Swimming Home, The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography, The Man Who Saw Everything, Things I Don't Want to Know, Black Vodka: Ten Stories, Billy and Girl, The Unloved, Beautiful Mutants, An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

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01
Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's unexplainable illness. She's frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and Rose travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant, Dr. Gomez—their very last chance—in the hope that he might cure Rose's unpredictable limb paralysis, but Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Rose's illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia's role as detective—tracking Rose's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain—deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.
02
'Swimming Home' is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidiuos harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams.Shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize.
03
A searching examination of all the dimensions of love, marriage, mourning, and kinship from two-time Booker Prize finalist Deborah Levy.

To strip the wallpaper off the fairy tale of The Family House in which the comfort and happiness of men and children has been the priority is to find behind it an unthanked, unloved, neglected, exhausted woman.

The Cost of Living explores the subtle erasure of women's names, spaces, and stories in the modern everyday. In this “living autobiography” infused with warmth and humor, Deborah Levy critiques the roles that society assigns to us, and reflects on the politics of breaking with the usual gendered rituals. What does it cost a woman to unsettle old boundaries and collapse the social hierarchies that make her a minor character in a world not arranged to her advantage?

Levy draws on her own experience of attempting to live with pleasure, value, and meaning--the making of a new kind of family home, the challenges of her mother's death--and those of women she meets in everyday life, from a young female traveler reading in a bar who suppresses her own words while she deflects an older man's advances, to a particularly brilliant student, to a kindly and ruthless octogenarian bookseller who offers the author a place to write at a difficult time in her life. The Cost of Living is urgent, essential reading, a crystalline manifesto for turbulent times.
04
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,
05
'Perhaps when Orwell described sheer egoism as a necessary quality for a writer, he was not thinking about the sheer egoism of a female writer. Even the most arrogant female writer has to work over time to build an ego that is robust enough to get her through January, never mind all the way to December.' Deborah Levy
06
'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.' ('Placing a Call') 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.
07
In this brilliant, inventive, tragic farce, Deborah Levy creates the ultimate dysfunctional kids, Billy and his sister Girl. Apparently abandoned years ago by their parents, they now live alone somewhere in England. Girl spends much of her time trying to find their mother, going to strangers' doors and addressing whatever Prozac woman who answers as "Mom." Billy spends his time fantasizing a future in which he will be famous, perhaps in the United States as a movie star, or as a psychiatrist, or as a doctor to blondes with breast enlargements, or as the author of "Billy England's Book of Pain." Together they both support and torture each other, barely able to remember their pasts but intent on forging a future that will bring them happiness and reunite them with the ever-elusive Mom. Billy and Girl are every boy and girl reeling from the pain of their childhoods, forgetting what they need to forget, inventing worlds they think will be better, but usually just prolonging nightmares as they begin to create--or so it seems--alternative personalities that will allow them to survive and conquer and punish. In the end, the reader is as bewildered as Billy and Girl--have they found Mom and a semblance of family, or are, they completely out of control and ready to explode?
08
The image is instant. It whirs out of the camera and they all watch it develop in silence.
"Here." He gives the photograph to the perfect flawless woman without looking at it, by way of apology. When everyone gathers around Luciana to admire it, Gustav clicks again.
The unloved look brave.
The unloved look heavier than the loved. Their eyes are sadder but their thoughts are clearer. They are not concerned with pleasing or affirming their loved one's point of view.
The unloved look preoccupied.
The unloved look impatient.

A group of hedonistic tourists--from Algeria, England, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, and America--gathers to celebrate the holidays in a remote French chateau. Then a woman is brutally murdered, and the sad, eerie child Tatiana declares she knows who did it. The subsequent inquiry into the death, however, proves to be more of an investigation into the nature of identity, 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.
10
She is a shimmering, tattooed, and acerbic angel, flown from Paradise to save him from the suburbs of hell. He, an accountant worn down by the day-to-day struggles of the nine to five, is dreaming of a white Christmas, a little garden and someone to love. She attempts, with scornful wit, to shock him out of his commuter's habits and into an experience of ecstasy.

Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this passionate work of dramatic poetry.

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her most recent novel, Swimming Home (2011 And Other Stories, UK publication, and 2012 Bloomsbury US publication), was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards (UK Author of the Year) and 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, while her most recent collection of short stories, Black Vodka: ten stories, was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and its title story "Black Vodka" shortlisted for the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award. An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell was first published in 1990 in the United Kingdom and appears now in a new edition, its first US edition.