cover image An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

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%E2%80%94"He"%E2%80%94from his boring life. What ensues is a delightful repart%C3%A9e 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.)