Neil's Reviews > Swallowing Geography

Swallowing Geography by Deborah Levy
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2016

This is a very surreal book. Levy throws away all the things that you might consider conventional in a novel (plot, characterisation, coherence, for examples) and throws something at you that it is simply not possible to grasp mentally. At least, I couldn't. But, and I think this is maybe the point, it is possible to respond emotionally to the deluge of images, the seemingly disconnected fragments. If there's a plot of any kind to be found, it centres on J.K. and her wanderings around Europe and her dealings with various lovers. Plus, Trotsky and Lenin somehow contrive to make appearances.

It's very short (just 72 pages, I believe, although the "real page numbers" on my Kindle went mad and started at page "107 of iv" and counted from there) and leaves you feeling rather disoriented at the end. But, along the way, it asks questions about identity (coincidentally, a similar theme to the last book I read (The Echo Maker) - isn't it strange how randomly chosen books sometimes seem to group together?). By messing around with everything that you might use to identify yourself (name, relationships, home, community, for example), it makes you stop and think.

Plus, it is tremendous fun to read because no one else writes quite like Levy.

By the way, I can't claim credit for many of these ideas about this book. I was floundering a bit until I read this review which helped enormously: Independent Review.
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Reading Progress

August 23, 2016 – Shelved
September 27, 2016 – Started Reading
September 28, 2016 – Finished Reading

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