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From the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of Swimming Home a single volume comprising her first two novels Beautiful Mutants long out of print and Swallowing Geography never before published in the United States Beautiful Mutants Deborah Levy's surreal first novel introduces a manipulative and magical Russian exile who summons forth a series of grotesues among them the Poet the Banker and the Anorexic Anarchist Levy explores the anxieties that pervaded the 1980s exile and emigration broken dreams crazed greed and the first seeds of the global financial crisis self destructive desires and the disintegration of culture It is a feverish allegory written in prose so beautiful and acrobatic that it could only come from a poet This remarkable and pioneering debut is as much about language as it is the world that ensnares and alienates usIn Swallowing Geography J K like her namesake Jack Kerouac is always on the road traveling Europe with her typewriter in a pillowcase She wanders meeting friends and strangers battling her raging mother and taking in the world through her uniuely irreverent ironic perspective Levy blends fairytale with biting satire pushing at the edges of reality and marveling at where the world collapses in on itself In this stunningly original novel Deborah Levy searches deep into the heart of the late twentieth century and does not hold back on what she finds there

10 thoughts on “Beautiful Mutants and Swallowing Geography

  1. says:

    This collection brings together two Levy's first two published novels or novellas which I will review separately They were both very interesting in terms of understanding her development as a writer Beautiful Mutants 1989This is Levy's first published book and shows that the talent that came to fruition with Swimming Home and Hot Milk was there from the start Like all of her books it is full of strikingly visual scenes only loosely linked by any form of narrative giving the whole a dreamlike uality The subject of this one is London at the height of Thatcherism with all of the new barbarity of the new elite laid bare A brilliantly intense surreal satire my only criticism is that I would have liked it to be longerSwallowing Geography 1993Levy's second novella is even shorter and is a cryptic and elusive story which is episodic describing a female traveller known only as JK and her relationships with various lovers I found this one uite difficult to follow so less satisfying but that probably says about my limitations as a reader than about the uality of the book

  2. says:

    The good news is Levy is now a terrific writer But the first novella in this regrettable reissue of her early stuff was so god awful I couldn’t make it past page 12 It sounded like all of the characters andor the writer were on acid And not the kind of trip that triggers profundities; the kind that spews inane verbal diarrhea

  3. says:

    To be fair I have no clue what I just read BUT I DO KNOW THAT THE WRITING IS OUTSTANDING AND I NEED MORE LEVY

  4. says:

    Weird fascinating and wise

  5. says:

    Beautiful Mutants ★★☆☆☆Swallowing Geography ★★★★☆

  6. says:

    Beautiful Mutants counterpoises a brutally realist approach to Thatcher era London and a satirically surrealist narrative Never exactly spelling out the story's discontent with late capitalism Levy is still ruthlessly explicit in crafting images that illustrate her critiue view spoilerie a pant suited millionaire burns down the London Zoo just because she can afford to hide spoiler

  7. says:

    Sad I didn’t enjoy this after reading Hot Milk I could really feel the lack of direction with these stories and the difference between this and Levy’s later work was really obvious I loved hot milk because of the great fusion of poetry and story telling but this was too poetic for me just because of personal taste I didn’t understand what was going on half the time but I’ll be sure to read her recent books

  8. says:

    Nothing against this book but I guess I wasn’t able to enjoy this as much as I would hope for It was difficult to follow for both stories

  9. says:

    I have no idea what I just read 🤷🏼‍♀️

  10. says:

    Beautiful Mutants 3 StarsSwallowing Geography 4 StarsWhat a contrast this was to the other fiction I’ve consumed by Levy So weird and wonderful and dark Not what I was expecting at all Having now read a few of her non fiction works too I loved navigating her dexterity as a writerExacting details layered themes and gripping narrators This was a compulsive read