A new novel from the Booker Prize finalist Deborah Levy, the celebrated author of The Man Who Saw Everything and The Cost of Living.
At the height of her career, the piano virtuoso Elsa M. Anderson—former child prodigy, now in her thirties—walks off the stage in Vienna, mid-performance.
Now she is in Athens, watching an uncannily familiar woman purchase 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 her journey across Europe, shadowed by the elusive woman who seems to be her double. A dazzling portrait of melancholy and metamorphosis, Deborah Levy’s August Blue uncovers the ways in which we attempt to revise our oldest stories and make ourselves anew.
“[August Blue] encompasses the cerebral and the sentimental, realism and surrealism, love and loss, the drive to create art—and the ambiguities of human relations . . . Her books—like love, and indeed, life—require, as a friend points out to Elsa in a wry aside about relationships, a willingness to tolerate a certain level of ‘confusion and uncertainty.’ They are totally worth it.”
—Heller McAlpin, The Wall Street Journal
“Levy makes a metaphor of twinhood and doppelgangers to illustrate our alternate lives, she recycles phrases throughout the book in a kind of prayer of repetition, and she leaves us with absences, and gifts, and mirrors. It’s a lovely and spare portrayal of coming to terms with the truth of our lives, our specific oneness.”
—Julia Hass, Literary Hub
“[Deborah Levy's] 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 . . . The wistful, fabular quality is appealing, as are those aphoristic statements Levy is so skilled at dispensing: sly comments on contemporary power dynamics likewise in the process of changing into new and as yet uncertain forms.”
—Olivia Laing, The Guardian
“[A] magnificent experiment in surrealism . . . This is a stunner.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred)
“An economical, elliptical, but always entertaining novel of transformation by a highly skilled enigmatist.”