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The Man Who Saw Everything

Narrated by: George Blagden
Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019

Brought to you by Penguin

Electrifying and audacious, an unmissable new novel about old and new Europe, old and new love, from the twice-Man Booker-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home.   

'The man who had nearly run me over had touched my hair, as if he were touching a statue or something without a heartbeat....'

In 1989, Saul is hit by a car on the Abbey Rd crossing. He is fine; he gets up and goes to see his girlfriend, Jennifer. They have sex and then break up. He leaves for the GDR, where he will have more sex (with several members of the same family), harvest mushrooms in the rain, bury his dead father in a matchbox, and get on the wrong side of the Stasi.

In 2016, Saul is hit by a car on the Abbey Rd crossing. He is not fine at all; he is rushed to hospital and spends the following days in and out of consciousness, in and out of history. Jennifer is sitting by his bedside. His very-much-not-dead father is sitting by his bedside. Someone important is missing.

Deborah Levy presents an ambitious, playful and totally electrifying novel about what we see and/or fail to see, about carelessness and the harm we do to others, about the weight of history and our ruinous attempts to shrug it off.

©2019 Deborah Levy (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Man Who Saw Everything

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incredible, touching, intense and magical...

This book is exceptional. Hard to describe why. The alluring character of Saul - with his pearl necklace, PhD in Eastern European history and Marc Bolan looks - never quite connects with anyone until he finds himself in a morphine induced haze of recollection, rencountering all the loves of life. i think it's the description of this "haze", which is one of the most beautiful, poetic yet completely unsentimental accounts of human connection that i've come across.

1 person found this helpful

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pleased it's over.

beautifully read/performed. well written. interesting historically. confusing though. unlikeable and underdeveloped characters. need to read.

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  • marj
  • 05-11-2019

Don’t bother with this.

Confusing and very unsatisfying. Great narrator but that is the only positive. Waste of time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sharon Barron
  • 31-10-2019

A very emotional listen

Saul Adler flits between his time as young historian in London and East Berlin and the present day as he slowly succumbs to his injuries from an RTA. He tells of his loves, his losses and his regrets. This is a beautifully written story, one that ranks in the top twenty of my favourites. It gets confusing near the end, possibly reflecting Adler's morphine induced confusion, but that slightly detracted, hence four rather than five stars.

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  • Olivia Norfolk
  • 10-03-2020

Beautiful exploration of the non-linearity of time

fast paced, but thought provoking. a beautiful exploration of the non-linearity of time. i highly recommend.

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  • Ke Donn
  • 29-02-2020

Wonderful story

This is such a moving story and absolutely beautifully read. it has a dream.like quality and beautiful descriptions throughout Highly recommended

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  • Manda N
  • 09-01-2020

Too clever for my simple intellect!

Oh gosh I tried and just as I thought I understood what was happening; I didn’t. A poetic read that confused me no end. I tried to understand why so many Jaguars, the dual time periods, why people were dead and then weren’t.... Apparently it is a masterpiece and I did enjoy the language beauty and flow. Great narration but can’t say at all what it was about.

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  • H_London90
  • 10-10-2019

Don’t bother!

Sadly there are fewer books I enjoyed less than this one... It is slow to start then becomes mildly interesting before falling back into utter dullness. Perhaps its poetry is lost on me, but the characters lack depth and often are clichés. All the flashbacks and each protagonist observing each other would have been interesting if it wasn’t this heavy handed.

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  • Adam
  • 24-09-2019

Dull story, dull voice

I kept waiting for the story to go somewhere more interesting but it never did. The narration is dull and doesn't draw you in. To be fair to the reader I don't think it's his fault I think it was the only way to read this book.