The Man Who Saw Everything

The Man Who Saw Everything

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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."
Publisher: [Toronto] : Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada, ©2019.
ISBN: 9780735236448
Characteristics: 199 pages ;,23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 01, 2020

I was compelled to gulp down the prose, mellow sweet, tangy bitter at the time. But when the story came out whole, what's lingered taste bland. I doubt if individuals' traumatic experience needs such an elaborately psychic perception and chaotic drama to reveal the past and impact the future.
When subjective manipulation (e.g. allusion, interwoven time and space) is excessive and convoluted, the objective (e.g. totalitarian, queerness) power effect is diverted and weakened.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jan 15, 2020

The Man Who Saw Everything is one of those books that only supplies more questions the deeper one looks. For readers who find thrill in trying to piece everything together, this book is well worth the experience. It is clever and mysterious. It's a stylish novel, even if many of its allusions may be elusive. It's every part entertaining as it is intelligent. Perhaps the puzzle could've been a little easier to solve—personally, I like to feel like I have a solution, even if that answer is wrong—but there was pleasure and enjoyment in trying to fit the pieces together.

Dec 25, 2019

1988 Communist Berlin, Saul Adler (genderqueer), Beatles Abbey Road, and an accident that bridges two time periods mark this unusual novel as interesting, head scratching, and immersive.

Sep 19, 2019

booker 2019 longlist

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

Library owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top