Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this dystopian philosophical poem about individualfreedom and the search for the good life.
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 repart e 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.