Deborah Levy on Playing With Dimensions of Time
The Author of the The Man Who Saw Everything
on First Draft
First Draft: A Dialogue of Writing is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with fiction, nonfiction, essay writers, and poets, highlighting the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft, and the literary arts. Hosted by Mitzi Rapkin, First Draft celebrates creative writing and the individuals who are dedicated to bringing their carefully chosen words to print as well as the impact writers have on the world we live in.
From the episode:
Mitzi Rapkin: Time is something that seems to be very interesting to you both in The Cost of Living and in this novel [The Man Who Saw Everything]. You are unfolding time in unique ways where it’s almost elliptical or mysterious how it blends together. You said something in The Cost of Living: “To unfold any number of ideas through all the dimensions of time is the great adventure of the writing life.”
Deborah Levy: Yeah, because as Heidegger told us we are all beings in time, that’s what we are. We are beings in time. The thing is we don’t experience time chronologically. What I mean by that just on a very basic every day level is you’re sitting on the subway and you’re thinking about yesterday and then you might be making some plans for the future or you’ve got a wish for something to happen in the future, so you’re sliding there or you are thinking about something from your childhood surfaces, and so the past and the present and the future, not in a mystical way, are all happening simultaneously for all of us all the time.
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Deborah Levy was born in South Africa and moved to England at the age of nine, where she studied contemporary arts at Dartington College of Arts. In 1989, she published her first collection of short stories, Ophelia and the Great Idea, and a second, Black Vodka, in 2013. Two of her novels, Swimming Home and Hot Milk, were shortlisted for the Booker prize; her latest, The Man Who Saw Everything, was long listed for the Booker prize. She is a playwright, fiction writer, and memoirist. Her new memoir is called The Cost of Living.