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Black Vodka: Ten Stories (2013)

by Deborah Levy(Favorite Author)
3.58 of 5 Votes: 3
1908276169 (ISBN13: 9781908276162)
And Other Stories
review 1: This collection was just hard for me to get into. I like stories that are straight forward and satisfying, that leave me wanting more because they're so good and not because you feel that they are lacking. I suppose sometimes you just have to read between the lines and work a bit harder at trying to understand what the author is conveying. Sometimes, I don't mind doing this. I don't know... I guess this just wasn't my cup of tea. However, I did like the following three stories: "Pillow Talk", "Simon Tegala's Heart in 12 Parts", and "A Better Way to Live".
review 2: At their best (like in the title story 'Black Vodka'), these these stories have an air of the unexpected and are marked by what's left unsaid. 'Black Vodka" reminds me a bit of the first and b
... moreest story in DeLillo's The Angel Esmeralda from last year, but, like that collection, Black Vodka is wildly inconsistent overall. Its worst stories ('Stardust Nation') feel very much like contemporary brit lit (i.e. this is a story whose central premise is absurd but kind of cheesy in a way reminiscent of WIll Self and even Martin Amis at a stretch). The prose tends toward the minimalist and plain, although there are few moments where it intentionally deploys slightly imprecise language (eg. we are told that a woman is 'the Newton of atomic kissing'; that an ex-military officer would 'start small post-traumatic wars against his eight-year-old son,' and, in reference to racist taunts experienced by the narrator at a primary school, that '"playground" does not really provide an accurate sense of the sort of ethnic cleansing that went on behind the gates.'). All in all, the style is solid but not my cup of tea--and I guess I was expecting something more interesting/experimental, but that's certainly not Levy's fault. This is well-wrought, but ultimately a bit too close to most commercial contemp-lit for my taste. less
Reviews (see all)
Didn't like the first two stories at all so decided not to bother with the rest.
Not just short, but almost micro stories, mostly of life, love and loneliness.
The one about empathy, wow.
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