Melanie White

After the Crash

The Man Who Saw Everything

By

Hamish Hamilton 199pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

A passing familiarity with block universe theory might aid understanding of Deborah Levy’s seventh novel, The Man Who Saw Everything. In keeping with the laws of quantum space-time (block universe theory deems that past, present and future all exist simultaneously), memories and intimations of the future merge in the mind of the historian Saul Adler, the titular Man Who Saw Everything, in the surreal and resonant fashion that is typical of Levy’s work. Rather like Ali Smith’s How to Be Both, this is a novel of two parts that revolve around the same event in different times. Adler is struck by a car while crossing Abbey Road in London, first in 1988, then in 2016. The first section covers his break-up with his photographer girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau, and trip to the German Democratic Republic, where he is surveilled by – and falls in love with – his translator, Walter Müller. Adler sleeps not only with Walter but also with his sister, Luna. He knows himself to be a ‘careless man’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,