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