A provocative and ambitious novel about the demands of masculinity by Deborah Levy, two-time Man Booker Prize finalist. It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a young, idealistic historian, has been invited to East Germany to do research; in exchange, he must publish a favorable essay about the German Democratic Republic. As a gift for his translator’s sister, a Beatles fanatic who will be his host, his girlfriend will shoot a photograph of him standing in the crosswalk on Abbey Road, an homage to the famous album cover. As he waits for his girlfriend to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life.
Saul is a sensitive soul, a man who attempts to do right by the people he cares for, but his good intentions are eclipsed by his reckless actions and he often ends up hurting them--and himself--instead. The Man Who Saw Everything is about the difficulty of seeing ourselves and others clearly. It explores the difference between thought crimes and actual crimes, conscious and unconscious transgressions, and real and imagined betrayals, while investigating the cyclic nature of history and its reinvention by people in power. Levy artfully blurs sexual and political binaries--feminine and masculine, East and West, past and present, real and surreal--to reveal the full spectrum of our world.
Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. The author of highly praised novels, including Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl, the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka, and two parts of her working autobiography, Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living, she lives in London. Levy is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.