Black Vodka: Ten Stories (Hardcover)
The stories in Black Vodka, by acclaimed author Deborah Levy, are perfectly formed worlds unto themselves, written in elegant yet economical prose. She is a master of the short story, exploring loneliness and belonging; violence and tenderness; the ephemeral and the solid; the grotesque and the beautiful; love and infidelity; and fluid identities national, cultural, and personal.
In “Shining a Light,” a woman's lost luggage is juxtaposed with far more serious losses. An icy woman seduces a broken man in “Vienna,” and a man's empathy threatens to destroy him in “Stardust Nation.” “Cave Girl” features a girl who wants to be a different kind of woman-she succeeds in a shocking way. A deformed man seeks beauty amid his angst in the title story.
These are twenty-first century lives dissected with razor-sharp humor and curiosity. Published simultaneously with Things I Don't Want to Know: On Writing, Levy's stories will send you tumbling into a rabbit hole, and you won't be able to scramble out until long after you've turned the last page.
“Deborah Levy showed she is a top-hitting novelist with a Man Booker Prize shortlist place for Swimming Home. Can she conquer the genre which demands she fashion perfect jewels? . . . Yes, Levy can do macro- and microcosm. These tales of unconventional love reinforce her reputation as a major contemporary writer who never pulls her punches.” -The Independent
About the Author
Deborah Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts before becoming a playwright. Her plays include Pax, Heresies, Clam, Call Blue Jane, Shiny Nylon, Honey Baby Middle England, Pushing the Prince into Denmark and Macbeth-False Memories. She has also written some novels and was a Fellow in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1989-1991.
“Levy provides fragmentary glimpses into the fascinating lives of people at odds with their surroundings and profoundly disturbed by their previous experiences. Edgy, unsettling, and intoxicating.” — starred review, Library Journal
“A good short story has to be brief, with few characters, artistic jumps and artistic elisions (that make us think we are missing nothing). And, I believe, must contain a good swatch of poetry in its prose. If those are the paradigms, then Levy seems to makes it into the near-genius class.” —The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities (RALPH magazine)
“[Levy's] precision and unusual imagination are well suited to the short story form . . . . Levy's talent is evident throughout--though the stories themselves can be unsettling, their evocative language invites the reader to settle in.” —Publishers Weekly
“One of the most exciting voices in contemporary British fiction . . . sophisticated and astringent.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“These ominous, odd, erotic stories burrow deep into your brain.” —Financial Times
“A sexy hauteur in Deborah Levy's prose [is] reminiscent of the voice of Marianne Faithfull. The rasping, deadpan delivery of these ten new stories emit a dreamy harshness at once jaded and invigorating.” —The New Statesman
“Fabulously jolting . . . Accomplished and uncanny . . . Powerful.” —The Guardian
“Enticing . . . Tantalizingly poetic.” —New York Times Book Review
“Levy's sparse, elegant stories are poetic and faintly surreal.” —The Sunday Times
“Levy harkens Lydia Davis's undulating, dreamlike style, moving quickly between tender observations and abrupt actions. A character may race bumblingly to answer a ringing phone in one sentence, and contemplate the rain in the next. Levy stitches such seemingly contradictory scenes together seamlessly to create an abstract, evocative collection.” —Huffington Post