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Airytale with biting satire Through the voice of the irreverent and ironic narrator J The narrative was all over the place and for some reason I couldn t connect with the story nor the characters my least favourite work by Levy for sureCan be avoided

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Swallowing Geography

Swallowing Geography is a stunning early novel by the Man Booker shortlisted Deborah Is it possible that classic rules of forms and structure do not fit this experience of existing and not existing at the same timeSwallowing Geography was Deborah Levy s 2nd novella just 85 pages published in 1993 following her debut Beautiful Mutants my reviewWhereas her first novel took its inspiration from the materialism of 1980s Britain Swallowing Geography is set against a background of the first Gulf War and the reunification of Germany The theme of displacement and migration from the first novel comes through even stronger hereAnd the prose and imagery is even fragmentary This review from the Independent at the time ht to Neil s review expresses it wellSwallowing Geography is the sort of novel which doesn t behave like a novel the sort that can usually be put in its place by applying the label experimental Less than 100 pages its matter is congealed into six dense disorienting chapters with vatic titles like Riding the Tiger and Book of the Open Mouth With no linear narrative to speak of it is less a stream of consciousness than a heap of broken images The novel is told from the perspective of JK she herself can t even remember what it stands for She is the wanderer bum emigre refugee deportee rambler strolling player Sometimes she would like to be a settler but curiosity grief and disaffection forbid itSometimes she is visible and sometimes she is invisible This is not because she is a ghost or a mystic but because some people want to see her and some people do notBoth intimate and alien she can touch the world with a phantom handshe is Europe s eerie child and she is part of the stormIn JK we also see glimpses of the sardonic characters in Levy s later novels such as Sophie from Hot Milk via JK s left field observations On the aeroplane over here the air hostess demonstrated various ways of surviving an aircrash She said we must blow on a whistle to attract attention to ourselves Don t you think that s a little narcissisticThe images in the novel over multiply at first leaving the reader disorientated At one point JK looks around her room a little saucer full of yellow canary feathers pebbles postcards a bag full of coins an address book a white bowl on a stand a photograph of Gregory a cashew nut in its shell not unlike a foetus a poster of a man with a dragonfly taped to his forehead a green ribbon the letters XYZ scrawled on the back of an envelope in felt pen a picture of an orange hand with six fingers ALIEN written underneath it and a 1936 Smith Corona typewriter most of which feature somewhere in the 80 brief pages alongside a guest appearance from TrotskyBut Levy brings out the theme of the novel albeit not by pulling together all these threads clearly at the story ends The wanderer Y skinny dips in a river watched by her local lover X He the settler present visible and somewhere is reluctant to swim with the wanderer at a strange hour He has a home and has Z to return to He will return wet and Z will ask him why Don t swallow the water he shoutsShe swallows and swallows the water And as she swallows she swallows the possibility she will always be alone Swallows the river that will flow into the sea that is made from other waters that have flowed from mountains and hills that will leak into oceans She swallows geography learns to swim in changing tides and temperatures learns to speak in many tongues She does this because she has no choice but to do so and she comes out of the river to find him there holding her earrings in his hand and he says But they don t fit Who are youA less satisfying read than Beautiful Mutants but perhaps a powerful message and as with the earlier novel it is fascinating to see the emergence of the author Deborah Levy would become

Deborah Levy î 5 Read & Download

Levy Embedded in this beautifully written novel is Deborah Levy's gift for blending f uite a departure from Beautiful Mutants but eually as sprawlingly spectacular and gifted reading this made me remember all the times i was a traveller and a foreigner and a tourist and a wanderer and a misfit and a vagabond full of so may phrases and thoughts and imagery painful to read at times achingly raw in others always stunning and fabulously written


10 thoughts on “Swallowing Geography

  1. says:

    Deborah Levy’s second novella is a near perfect creation taking us into the nomadic realm of JK—a loveless and forlorn nation hopper who takes lovers and flees Elegant poetic prose sprightly playfulness and complex untangling of dark psyches Levy’s trademarks in evidence in this beautifully titled novella Recently republished

  2. says:

    As much as I have loved all of the others of Levy's books I've read this left me perplexed and rather disappointed Experim

  3. says:

    Is it possible that classic rules of forms and structure do not fit this experience of existing and not existing at the same timeSwallowing Geography was Deborah Levy's 2nd novella just 85 pages published in 1993 following her debut Beautiful Mutants my reviewWhereas her first novel took its inspiration from the material

  4. says:

    I read this on breaks in waiting rooms curled up in bed before sunrise None of the narrative made any sense and yet everything was interconnected Only one character had a name Gregory Because he had claimed his own geography Everyone else was a letter maybe two There was love the sea and a man’s head aflame If you’ve read her autobiogra

  5. says:

    uite a departure from 'Beautiful Mutants' but eually as sprawlingly spectacular and gifted reading this made me remember all the times i was a t

  6. says:

    This is a very surreal book Levy throws away all the things that you might consider conventional in a novel plot characterisation coherence for examples and throws something at you that it is simply not possible to grasp mentally At least I couldn't But and I think this is maybe the point it is possible to respond emotionally to the deluge

  7. says:

    would it be worth it to be dazzled wined dined and fucked silly if it was only for one night your lover soon to take off in the jet never to

  8. says:

    'we return to homelands and find they are a hallucination'

  9. says:

    The narrative was all over the place and for some reason I couldn't connect with the story nor the characters my least favourite work by Levy for sureCan be avoided

  10. says:

    Just beautiful I love the way Levy writes JK like Jack Kerouac travels around with her typewriter in this dreamlike fragmented story where each place she encounters is layered with the memories of other lives It is a story of displaced people and a longing for home interspersed with forgetting I’m sure there are many references that went over my head but even purely on a sentence level this is just stunning

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