Black Vodka Ten Stories PDF/EPUB ´ Black Vodka PDF ↠ Kindle

'Kissing you is like new paint and old pain It is like coffee and car alarms and a dim stairway and a stain and it's like smoke' 'Placing a Call' How does love change us? And how do we change ourselves for love or for lack of it? Ten stories by acclaimed author Deborah Levy explore these delicate impossible uestions In Vienna an icy woman seduces a broken man; in London gardens birds sing in computer start up sounds; in ad land a sleek copywriter becomes a kind of shaman These are twenty first century lives dissected with razor sharp humour and curiosity stories about what it means to live and love together and alone

10 thoughts on “Black Vodka Ten Stories

  1. says:

    Swimming Home was one of my favourite books of last year so when I saw she released a collection of ten shorts stories I knew I had to read them Stories of love and loneliness Levy has a uniue blend of experimentalism and wit which has really hooked meThis collection of short stories has a real contemporary feel to them as well as a European flavour to it Every story was gripping and I stretched this book out as long as I could One story a day and each one as good as the other There is a real joy to find an author that you love and can’t wait to delve into everything they writeShort stories of relationships sadness love being alone and bitterness; Deborah Levy has a uniue and minimalist voice that I adore I would love to find other authors similar While Swimming Home is far superior the stories from Black Vodka was still a great dip into the works of Deborah LevyThis review originally appeared on my blog;

  2. says:

    35 As others have suggested the story just isn't Levy's strong suit Because she writes such fabulous sentences it's impossible not to appreciate the style but her characters what the best of her stuff even the non fiction is all about feel a bit incongruous out of place and provocatively under served which seems to be what the raves like

  3. says:

    I can't think of anything telling to say about this one in retrospect I should have written the review before reading the first 100 pages of the Francis Plug which is very different I enjoyed reading these poetic and elliptical stories but in retrospect it is difficult to say why

  4. says:

    I am going to again shy away from the star systemAnd let this book speak for itselfBLACK VODKA first story of the collection An excerptAt that moment I drop the silver fork in my right hand It falls noiselessly to the carpet and bounces before it falls again I bend down to pick it up and because I am nervous and have downed too much vodka I start to go on an archaeological dig of my own In my mind I lift up the faded rose pink carpet of the Polish Club in South Kensington and find underneath it a forest full of wild mushrooms and swooping bats that live upside down This is a Polish forest covered in new snow in the murderous twentieth century At the same time in the first decade of the twenty first I can see the feet of customers eating herrings with sour cream two metres away from my own table Their shoes are made from suede and leather A grey wolf prowls this dark forest its ears alert to the sound of spoons stirring chocolate dusted cappuccinos in West London When it starts to dig up an unnamed grave that has just been filled with soil I do not wish to continue with this mental excavation so I pick up the fork and nod at Lisa who has been gazing at the lump on my back as if staring through the lens of a microscope The rain tonight is horizontalSHINING A LIGHT story two an excerptWhen they finally arrive at the lake that was once a mine the green water is still and flat Alice thinks it might have some sort of force that will suck her deep into the earth and make her disappear like her lost suitcase Jasna lends her a swimming costume but Alice takes her time getting changed She folds her blue dress carefully and then places it on a rock Everyone is in the water except for Mr Composer who refuses to swim and sits on the same rock as her dress buttoning up his jacket and shivering When he catches Alice’s eye he shrugs his shoulders and wryly translates the sign at the entrance to the lake He tells her it says ‘DANGER NO SWIMMING’ He watches her climb down the clay path and dive into the water It is very cold and she cannot feel her legs Adrijana and Jasna have swum out to the centre of the lake where it is deepest They have pinned up their brown hair and swim calmly and slowly together like the swans on the Vltava After a while they turn on their backs and stare at the skyAlice climbs out of the water and sits dripping wet next to Mr Composer or Alex or whoever he is He hands her a plastic carrier bag Inside it is a heavy suare of cake He explains that it is baklava made by his mother who he has just returned from visiting in Belgrade It is not like the baklava Alice is used to because it’s heavy like bread He takes out his mobile and Alice hears him say ‘I’m at a lake outside Prague with Alice who is from Britain which is why I am speaking to you in English She wants me to tell you she likes your cake’VIENNA story three excerptShe is middle Europe he thinks She is Vienna She is Austria She is a silver teaspoon She is cream She is schnapps She is strudel dusted with white icing sugar She is the sound of polite applause She is a chandelier She is a velvet curtain She is made from the horn of deer found deep in the pine forests of middle Europe She is spun from money She smells of burnt sugar She is snow She is fur She is leather She is gold She is someone else’s property He holds out his arms inviting her back to her own bed inviting middle Europe to share her wealth to let him steal some of her silver to let him make footprints across her snow and drink her schnappsMagret ignores his invitation to return to his thin white armsSTARDUST NATION the beginningGood morningThe London dawn The light The birds The car alarms The agitated men and women waiting for buses that don’t arrive Does anyone still say ‘Good morning’ in the breezy manner of 1950s black and white English films? When I was five years old my mother employed a Dutch tutor to teach me mathematics and biology She definitely had a breezy morning manner when she walked into the nursery in her high white leather shoes‘ Goedemorgen little Thomas How is your heartbeat today?’PILLOW TALK two seemingly small lines‘Why do people always say “I love you” in a sad voice?’ Pavel smiles in the special way that shows his gold tooth‘I’ve never understood why’ Ella repliesCAVE GIRL this story is perhaps one with the least strength There is not much holding it together and it threatens at every moment to crumble into dust But there is still beauty in it and things that will remain a mystery in the way that only short fiction can do What I am setting down here is only half a sentenceWhen she speaks it’s like she’s trailing the tips of her fingers across the surface of a swimming poolPLACING A CALL excerpt from the first few paragraphs Even the first sentence gives a little jolt This is the way to start a story With a jolt a little humor and some mysteryYou are telling me something I don’t want to hear You are telling me the honest truth We are standing in the garden and it is dusk There are rain clouds in the sky and midges and someone is planting a rose bush in the garden next door The telephone is ringingThe telephone is ringing I run into the house and pick up the receiver The telephone is pressed against my ear someone is calling and I am answering I am saying hello into hard black plastic but I hear the dial tone and the ring tone happening at the same time Someone is missing Someone is trying to get through And then I remember there is a bird in the garden that imitates a telephone when it sings I can see it now in the tree in the garden where you are telling me the honest truth It is singing in an old fashioned ring tone it is singing like a land line I run back into the gardenWe are standing in the garden and it’s autumn and there’s a bird in the tree that imitates a telephone when it sings Your hair is silver but you are not oldSIMON TEGALA'S HEART IN 12 PARTS yes It was an electrical event ROMA again begins with a jolt and a mystery This isn't the best of stories but she does something interesting and fantastically skillful with drama and tendernessHer husband who is going to betray her is standing inside the city of Roma She is talking to him over the wall because she is not invited inside She says ‘You’ve broken my heart’ in the way an actress might say it Standing by the fountain in the centre of Roma is the woman who admires her husband She walks past him in jeans and trainers Her neck and cheeks are flushedA BETTER WAY TO LIVE the title placeTwo green plastic butterflies They told me she wanted a better way to liveIf you are not intrigued enough to pick up this book I don't know that there's much I can do I highly recommend the book It's something to read uickly and then read again slowly It is full of the wisdom of imperfection and living moments that leave a little school of uestion marks in their wake sailing slowly on the shimmering waters I look forward to reading other books by Levy

  5. says:

    I have this totally subjective theory that writers who pen both short stories and novels are always better at one form than the other Atwood's stories are inferior to her novels; the reverse is true of Carol Shields I have to say that this collection of Levy's stories bolsters my theory failing to compare to her incredible novel Hot Milk Still the writing here is lovely and one or two of them were pretty good It's still a pick

  6. says:

    In awe with Levy’s way with words so with how she so carefully demonstrates how tiny traumas can snowball into something seismic Be it an innocuous deformity as in “Black Vodka” an abusive childhood in “Stardust Nation” or an aimless self discovery in “Shining a Light” These stories are sad but also warm and bright and man nothing feels reaffirming than reading the tribulations of fictional characters who seem so real When I read Levy I hear a trace of Sexton in her voice that is comforting And yeah that sounds dark but I love melancholic literature because it’s therapeutic and familiar to me

  7. says:

    A disappointment Because I'm not good at reading short stories or because this is a little on the pretentious side? A little from column a a little from column b But don't take my word for it you be the judge

  8. says:

    Although Levy's prose is always a pleasure to read I think her forte really belongs with the longer form rather than these short sometimes VERY short pieces Although all are strange and evocative they seem to be over before they really build up any steam

  9. says:

    I did not enjoy this short collection of short stories I'll start off by saying maybe it's me I may not be the intended audience for this type of collection I very much got the same vibe from this as I feel when I see art for the sake of art that feels like there's not much deeper meaningThis felt a bit pretentious to me like it was attempting to be trendy and cultured but really fell short Levy has excellent prose and her writing was great but the stories left me wanting I really feel like they weren't even short stories but little vignettes that didn't actually start or end anywhere discernible I would get to the end of each story and while I was impressed linguistically the 'plots' and characters were sub par at best I understand the subtlety of these stories and I see the merit in Levy's writing However this was just not my cup of tea

  10. says:

    I think the fact that I read nay demolished this in one day says a lot even though it is short as books go I really could not put it down Each story portrays a different aspect of love and loss that will touch every reader on their level depending on their own experiences and heartbreakBlack Vodka tells of an outsider advertising executive who discovers that there are people out there who can see past his physical appearance and those who find it and him simply fascinating and the effects this has on our unnamed narrator The ending allows the reader to add their own stamp by leaving it open to interpretation be it happy or sadShining a Light follows Alice as she spends time in Prague without her beloved baggage and discovers that in losing it she has opened herself up to experiencing even than she could've dreamed Is it possible that she lost than just physical luggage at the airport you decideVienna tells of a meeting between ex's and the complexity of the emotion feeling and attraction that comes with it leading to the inevitable bedroom antics before the final good bye and the emptiness this leavesStardust Nation shows how the bond between two men employer and employee best of friends can form and strengthen to a point that the one suffers the troubles and sorrows of the other and how this can change both parties involvedPillow Talk follows Pavel and Ella as their relationship is tested and changed by the actions of one and the desires of the other and how this can drive people apart and together for better or worseCave Girl shows the development of a child into teenage hood from the view point of her brother and how these changes can be disturbing terrifying and cause stirrings of unknown and unwarranted feeling This shows the confusion that engulfs both of the sexes when it comes to those complex teenage years Placing a Call is a short tale that takes place in a garden where our narrator struggles to hear and accept the truth of the loss she feels and the implications of this loss Despite it's short length this is a really poignant story and one that will forever be brought to mind by the sound of an old style telephoneSimon Tegala's Heart in 12 Parts follows Simon as he falls for Naomi written in 12 short parts this story shows the ups and downs of new love lust? and how this can infiltrate every aspect of a person's beingRoma is a heartbreaking tale that follows our unnamed narrator as she dreams of her husband leaving her before waking and finding it is true that deep down her subconscious was preparing and warning her of what was to come allowing her to preserve some of herself as her world crumblesA Better Way to Live tells of Joe and Elisa as they move on from their losses in their early years to find a better life a life filled with those things that they have missed out on A somewhat uplifting tale despite the low start that shows that you can change your path for the better