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August Blue

Deborah Levy author


Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Published:16th May '24

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August Blue cover



'Levy's lyrical, pitch-perfect prose is an exploration of our reasons for living, the forces that drive us and the inner music that controls the rhythms of our dance through life and love' Independent

The mesmerising new novel from the twice Booker-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home

At the height of her career, concert pianist Elsa M. Anderson - former child prodigy, now in her thirties - walks off the stage in Vienna, mid-performance.

Now she is in Athens, watching as another young woman, a stranger but uncannily familiar - almost her double - purchases a pair of mechanical dancing horses at a flea market. Elsa wants the horses too, but there are no more for sale. She drifts to the ferry port, on the run from her talent and her history.

So begins a journey across Europe, shadowed by the elusive woman who bought the dancing horses.

A dazzling portrait of melancholy and metamorphosis, August Blue uncovers the ways in which we seek to lose an old story, find ourselves in others and create ourselves anew.

'Deborah Levy writes like a dream and I mean that quite literally' Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

'A virtuosic novel of identity and breakdown . . . [it] flickers constantly between comedy and darkness. You know you'll read August Blue again' M John Harrison, Guardian

Sunday Times bestseller, May 2023

Intelligent and absurd, precise and dream-like . . . I know of few other authors who can capture an atmosphere of the eerie and the bizarre as well as she does * The Scotsman *
August Blue holds the remarkable balancing act that is key to Levy's writing: perfect precision at the sentence level combined with a dedication to exploring the slipperiness of reality * iNews *
Playful inquisitiveness and lush descriptions balance out a bassline of melancholy . . . Nobody does enigmatic like Levy * Mail on Sunday *
[Levy] can sketch a scene with a few precise brushstrokes and conjure emotion out of white space on the page. A recurring call and response between Elsa and her alter ego becomes a musical refrain that takes on ever new colors. Those familiar references to swimming and bees glint through like leitmotifs -- Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim * New York Times *
A gleeful read . . . [Deborah Levy's] prose is as quick and bare as ever, her manner excitingly abrupt . . . You know you'll read August Blue again -- M John Harrison * Guardian *
Levy's lyrical, pitch-perfect prose, where every word is weighted with significance, is an exploration of our reasons for living, the forces that drive us and the inner music that controls the rhythms of our dance through life and love * Independent *
This is a stunner * Publishers Weekly *
Deborah Levy's work inspires a devotion few literary authors ever achieve -- Charlotte Higgins * Guardian *
August Blue is Levy's eighth novel, and since her 20s, she has been refining her ability to evoke feeling through writing rather than to narrate it. Her work is deeply influenced by art forms that express the embodied experience, like cinema and dance . . . Levy's writing is psychologically complex -- Simran Hans * New York Times *
[An] enigmatic novel . . . Deborah Levy's writing is rather like Philip Glass's music . . . mesmerising . . . enigmatic . . . refreshingly original -- Amber Medland * Daily Telegraph *
[A] wistful, fabular new novel . . . Since the 1990s, Deborah Levy's novels have combined a gauzy, episodic quality with pinpoint sensual detail drawn from peripatetic lives, crossing fluently between languages and national borders. Her style is full of gaps and sharp edges, circling around questions of gender and power, inheritance, autonomy and lack . . . The narrative here has a fittingly musical quality, running forward in spurts, pausing, repeating key phrases -- Olivia Laing * Observer *
Beautifully atmospheric . . . a dazzling portrait of melancholy and renewal . . . Levy is a master novelist and in August Blue, a beguiling story of how identities collide and crack, she shows us what it feels like to be a divided self * Independent ‘Best Books of 2023’ *
Deborah Levy delves into the deepest patterns of family connection and self-invention in August Blue, the riddling, elegant tale of a globe-trotting concert pianist whose subconscious is catching up with her * Guardian, 'Best Books of 2023' *
Deborah Levy's hazy, dreamlike novels, often set in sun-drenched Mediterranean backdrops, are an essential accompaniment to any summer holiday . . . a lyrical, surreal trip of self discovery - one that is full of Levy's wit and curious images -- Leila Slimani * i *
A meditation on artistic creativity that is sensual, enigmatic and strangely addictive * Financial Times 'What to Read this Summer' *
Levy is no stranger to the uncanny. Her novels teem with oddness, with dreamlike, vertiginous scenes -- Lara Pawson * Times Literary Supplement *
Levy's elegantly ludic investigation into selfhood, mother love and meaning * Guardian, '2023 Summer Reads' *
Levy fans will delight in August Blue’s heady exploration of female creativity * Financial Times, 'Best Books of 2023' *

ISBN: 9780241987889

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 17mm

Weight: 181g

256 pages