The stories in Black Vodka, by acclaimed author Deborah Levy, are perfectly formed worlds unto themselves, written in elegant yet economical prose. She is a master of the short story, exploring loneliness and belonging; violence and tenderness; the ephemeral and the solid; the grotesque and the beautiful; love and infidelity; and fluid identities national, cultural, and personal.
In “Shining a Light,” a woman’s lost luggage is juxtaposed with far more serious losses. An icy woman seduces a broken man in “Vienna,” and a man’s empathy threatens to destroy him in “Stardust Nation.” “Cave Girl” features a girl who wants to be a different kind of woman—she succeeds in a shocking way. A deformed man seeks beauty amid his angst in the title story.
These are twenty-first century lives dissected with razor-sharp humor and curiosity. Published simultaneously with Things I Don’t Want to Know: On Writing, Levy’s stories will send you tumbling into a rabbit hole, and you won't be able to scramble out until long after you’ve turned the last page.
“Deborah Levy showed she is a top-hitting novelist with a Man Booker Prize shortlist place for Swimming Home. Can she conquer the genre which demands she fashion perfect jewels? . . . Yes, Levy can do macro- and microcosm. These tales of unconventional love reinforce her reputation as a major contemporary writer who never pulls her punches.” —The Independent