An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

Deborah Levy. And Other Stories (Consortium, dist.), $12.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-908276-46-9
Levy, author of the 2012 Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Swimming Home, exists among a rare breed of multi-genre writers as a composer of plays, short stories, and poetry. It's not surprising then that this revised edition of her 1990 work flirts with narrative and gets hot-and-heavy in its dialogue. An angel, "she," descends into a bleak British suburb to save an accountant named Stanley—"He"—from his boring life. What ensues is a delightful repartée of droll conversations about love, relationships, and the meaning of happiness. Stanley is a logical, content man: "I like the light/ To be just light/ And the dark/ To just be dark/ I do not wish to live in a grey area/ Or to read between the lines." The angel, in contrast, embodies spontaneity, limitlessness: "Die die die of safety," she chides him, unable to rattle him out of his routines. Levy has found a means to capture the human struggle between ambition and satisfaction, settling down and moving on, love and lust, the known and unknown. The angel observes Stanley as "a human subject/ living and furious/ architect of your own paradise/ on this grave earth," but she could be talking about all of us. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
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