Brief Thoughts on Deborah Levy’s “Swimming Home”

While on a trip overseas earlier this summer, I picked up a copy of Deborah Levy’s novel Swimming Home. I hadn’t been familiar with Levy’s previous work — something I now hope to resolve, and soon — but the description and the introduction by Tom McCarthy both piqued my interest pretty significantly, as did a recommendation from Lauren Elkin. That the novel was subsequently selected for the Man Booker Prize longlist didn’t hurt my enthusiasm.

Reading it brought to mind the works of John Hawkes — specifically, an opening that evokes his Travesty; like that novel, there are moments of sudden violence (emotional and physical), along with betrayals, adultery, and more. It subtly deals with questions of class and national identity, and there are some neat structural choices made that help make it resonate in unexpected ways. I’m not sure if plans are afoot for an American edition, or if the version released by publisher And Other Stories is intended to be distributed internationally. But I hope that it becomes more widely read over here — it’s a book that cries out to be disssected, re-read, and discussed.

Follow Vol. 1 Brooklyn on TwitterFacebookGoogle + and our Tumblr.