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The man who saw everything
2019
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Summary
Longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize

An electrifying and audacious novel about beauty, envy, and carelessness by Deborah Levy, two-time Man Booker Prize finalist.

It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a narcissistic young historian, has been invited to Communist East Berlin 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, Saul's 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 her to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life--and this story of good intentions and reckless actions.

The Man Who Saw Everything is about the difficulty of seeing ourselves and others clearly. It greets the specters that come back to haunt old and new love, previous and current incarnations of Europe, conscious and unconscious transgressions, and real and imagined betrayals, while investigating the cyclic nature of history and its reinvention by people in power. Here, Levy traverses the vast reaches of the human imagination while artfully blurring sexual and political binaries--feminine and masculine, East and West, past and present--to reveal the full spectrum of our world.
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Booklist Review
Saul Adler was badly bruised when he was sideswiped by a car while trying to cross Abbey Road. His girlfriend was taking a photograph in an effort to re-create the famous Beatles album cover, which he would take as a gift on his upcoming trip to East Germany. But Saul would suffer more than bruises in the aftermath of the car accident in 1988. First dumped by his girlfriend, and then forgetting the all-important tin of pineapple his host had requested, Saul moves in an almost dreamlike state through communist East Berlin, beginning a romantic relationship that poses a huge threat. The time is so pivotal that when Saul is hospitalized after another car accident in 2016, he is immediately taken back to his 28-year-old self and believes he is soon to travel to a country that no longer exists. Unable to stomach the sight of his 56-year-old face, Saul rediscovers all that happened in the years since. Levy has achieved a memorable, poignant voyage through love, loss, and longing.--Bridget Thoreson Copyright 2010 Booklist
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