#BlogTour! #Review – #TheManWhoSawEverything by Deborah Levy @VikingBooksUK @bookswithbolino

(Many thanks to Viking Books for the ARC and blog tour invite.)

In 1988 Saul Adler (a narcissistic, young historian) is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his art student girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road.

Saul leaves to study in communist East Berlin, two months before the Wall comes down. There he will encounter – significantly – both his assigned translator and his translator’s sister, who swears she has seen a jaguar prowling the city. He will fall in love and brood upon his difficult, authoritarian father. And he will befriend a hippy, Rainer, who may or may not be a Stasi agent, but will certainly return to haunt him in middle age.

What does TWG think?

Having not read any of Deborah Levy’s previous novels, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect. I was aware that this particular author had had several of her books nominated for the ‘Man Booker Prize’, so I had already guessed what particular league the story would be in.

‘The Man Who Saw Everything’ is like nothing I have ever read before and, whilst i attempted to remain openminded about the unique story, the uncertainty and unpredictability was slightly unnerving at times. It didn’t have the same sort of storyline stepping stones as a crime novel or a contemporary fiction, where you know where the story was heading based on where you were in the book. It seemed to have it’s own rules.

With one half of the book set in 1988 and the other half set in the ‘present’, ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’ tells the story of Saul, a historian who seems to spend most of his time battling with himself or embarking on some sort of romantic past time, if you catch my drift.

I don’t think that Saul didn’t care about who he hurt, I think that perhaps he cared a little too much at times….probably about the wrong things though, I must add.

I thought it was clever how the author used dissociation as the main ‘thing’ in her book, especially as Saul’s mind refused to let him see life in all its mismatch glory, instead he saw it as something only he could understand.

I appreciated the authors intricate attention to detail and the way she crafted such a uniquely blended storyline – I was quite moved by Saul’s reaction when he realised that reality was going to sink in and he had no other choice but to oblige.

Personally, I don’t think that ‘The Man Who Saw Everything’ was really my thing overall, however I thoroughly enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and reading a book which puts your mind to work, thinking about just how easily we take things for granted.

Buy now.

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