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The Man Who Saw Everything

Narrated by: George Blagden
Length: 6 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (17 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

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Martyn. R. Winters
  • 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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  • 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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful