Sunday, November 27, 2016
Deborah Levy, has written a number of books, including a novel, Swimming Home,which was shortlisted for the Booker in 2012,of which I have to confess I was unaware. She is a really good writer though; quiet, fun, and engaging, so this was my loss. Sofia, our protagonist, is an all-but-dissertation anthropologist who was working as a barista and caring for her mother, a self-centered and controlling hypochondriac named Rose. Sofia has been relying in turn on her mother for financial support. She and Rose have now traveled from England to Almeria, in southern Spain, to see specialist Dr. Gomez in the hope that he can somehow help Rose with her ever growing list of imagined maladies. In Almeria Sofia encounters jellyfish and attractive strangers and begins to see a way back to her own life. Sofia is a charming character, unembarrassed by her many flaws and aware of all that she is quietly enduring. She and other characters talk about the confusion they face in their lives, the effect that others have upon them, and the roles they are forced to play, A well-written and enjoyable book.