Book summary: Ophelia and The Great Idea


This short story collection is the work of a gifted young writer who has yet to find her voice. In ``Preparing for Life,'' Levy imitates Latin-American magic realists to tell of Mamita, a dying woman whose sneeze causes her soul, in the form of a white mouse, to pop out of her mouth. The title story and many of the other flat, disconnected tales, are told like dreams. ``Flush'' is college humor. There's a little Zen parody, a few interspersed news bulletins. Throughout, the message is grim. Society undervalues art and artists, oppresses women, is intent on destroying the human race, uses money to crush esthetics; yet, underneath irony as thick as armor, there seems to beat a heart which Levy may, in the future, set free. In the meantime, there is a vogue for writing that satirizes contemporary life without engaging or threatening anyone's emotions, and Levy's spare parodies have attracted a cult following in England.

Back to biography of Deborah Levy

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