Beautiful Mutants and Swallowing Geography: Two Early Novels (Paperback)
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From the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Swimming Home, a single volume comprising her first two novels: Beautiful Mutants, long out of print, and Swallowing Geography, never before published in the United States.
Beautiful Mutants, Deborah Levy's surreal first novel, introduces a manipulative and magical Russian exile who summons forth a series of grotesques--among them the Poet, the Banker, and the Anorexic Anarchist. Levy explores the anxieties that pervaded the 1980s: exile and emigration, broken dreams, crazed greed and the first seeds of the global financial crisis, self-destructive desires, and the disintegration of culture. It is a feverish allegory written in prose so beautiful and acrobatic that it could only come from a poet. This remarkable and pioneering debut is as much about language as it is the world that ensnares and alienates us.
In Swallowing Geography, J. K., like her namesake Jack Kerouac, is always on the road, traveling Europe with her typewriter in a pillowcase. She wanders, meeting friends and strangers, battling her raging mother, and taking in the world through her uniquely irreverent, ironic perspective. Levy blends fairytale with biting satire, pushing at the edges of reality and marveling at where the world collapses in on itself. In this stunningly original novel, Deborah Levy searches deep into the heart of the late-twentieth century and does not hold back on what she finds there.
About the Author
Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. The author of highly praised novels, including The Man Who Saw Everything (longlisted for the Booker Prize), Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl, the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka, and two parts of her working autobiography, Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living, she lives in London. Levy is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.
“The two picaresque novels . . . glimmer with dazzling flashes of fantasy and surreality. These exercises in the literary avant-garde resonate with moving reflections on exile and alienation.” —Publishers Weekly
“Audacious.” —Publishers Weekly on BEAUTIFUL MUTANTS
“A bold debut; [Beautiful Mutants marked] the arrival of a fractured fictional world in which characters spoke in riddles, dissolved and remade themselves, attracted and repelled one another and us, against a highly textured backdrop of images and objects. It was antagonistic, provocative fiction, made to describe and to flourish in Europe's geopolitical cracks.” —The Guardian
“[Beautiful Mutants] throbs its way into the imagination like the unguided missiles it decries.” —The Observer
“One of the few contemporary British writers comfortable on a world stage.” —The New Statesman on SWALLOWING GEOGRAPHY
“Luminously precise . . . accomplished . . . The prose is lean, unencumbered, and at its best in moments of pure lyricism.” —The Independent on SWALLOWING GEOGRAPHY
“An immersive, empathy-inducing reading experience . . . Deborah Levy's earlier books are a sonorous, whimsical introduction to the immigrant experience in London.” —The Huffington Post
“[Levy's] prose veers from dreamlike reverie to bald aggression in the turn of a sentence, never resting . . . The macabre and the lyrical pile up and cry out with urgency . . . Bloomsbury's re-issue of these two works together allows for a deeper appreciation of Levy's distinctive sensibility.” —KGB Bar Lit Magazine