The Position of Spoons

And Other Intimacies

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Pub Date Oct 01 2024 | Archive Date Nov 01 2024

Description

A feast of observations about everything from the particular beauty of lemons on a table, to the allure of Colette, to the streets of Paris, by the inimitable Deborah Levy.

Deborah Levy’s vital literary voice speaks about many things.

On footwear: “It has always been very clear to me that people who wear shoes without socks are destined to become my friends and lovers.” On public parks: “A civic garden square gentles the pace of the city that surrounds it, holding a thought before it scrambles.” On Elizabeth Hardwick: “She understands what is at stake in literature.” On the conclusion of a marriage: “It doesn’t take an alien to tell us that when love dies we have to find another way of being alive.”

Levy shares with us her most tender thoughts as she traces and measures her life against the backdrop of different literary imaginations; each page is a beautiful, questioning composition of the self. The Position of Spoons is full of wisdom and astonishments and brings us into intimate conversation with one of our most insightful, intellectually curious writers.

A feast of observations about everything from the particular beauty of lemons on a table, to the allure of Colette, to the streets of Paris, by the inimitable Deborah Levy.

Deborah Levy’s vital...


A Note From the Publisher

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. She is the author of several highly praised novels, including The Man Who Saw Everything (long-listed for the Booker Prize), Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl; the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka; and a three-part autobiography, Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living, and Real Estate. She lives in London and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. She is the author of several highly praised...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780374614973
PRICE $26.00 (USD)
PAGES 176

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Average rating from 13 members


Featured Reviews

Incredible.
I had never read any Deborah Levy before this and this book has made me want to go and read all of her back catalogue. Part literary criticism, part memoir, The Position of Spoons shares little vignettes into Levy’s philosophy on the world with prose that is effortless.

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Deborah is a wonderful writer. If my count is right - I’ve read ten of her books. It’s true to say I think deeper when reading her books. I grow….I make new discoveries. Her writing feels personal in an important way. It’s important to me. Heck - I’ve added several more books I plan to read ‘because’ of the way Levy shared about those books and authors. Elizabeth Hardwick for sure.

In many ways these stories are a tribute to many of our greatest authors — (I definitely include Levy) - to literature- to artists - to philosophers - to life.

Topics galore are covered. The blurb already stole the first quote I wanted to share: (haha! - Darn them….but I’ll share it too)….
On Footwear:
“It has always been very clear to me that people who wear shoes without socks, are destined to become my friends and lovers”.

Lots to learn (in a fun- reading-exciting way) in these stories. MUCH I didn’t know. I’m thankful for some literary holes Levy provided for me.
Small tidbit I learned - I didn’t know that anything about Lynn Turner. She was an American writer that was convicted in the poisoning deaths of two of her husbands. She died in 2010 at age 42.
I couldn’t find anything Turner wrote (checked google) … maybe they don’t include books written by a murderer?
I did find another American author with the same ‘Lynn Turner’ name. I felt a little bad. I don’t think I would enjoy sharing the first and last name with a murderer.

Back to Levy…. and me sharing a few snippet gems . . .
“Colette was presenting herself in a way that appealed to my teenage idea of what a European female writer might be like. Glamorous, serious, intellectual, playful - with a mean, sleek cat sitting on her writing desk amongst the flowers, all of them bathed in a glowing arc of French light”.

Marguerite Duras
“The purpose of language for Duras is to nail a catastrophe to the page”.
“She thinks as deeply as it is possible to think without dying of pain. It is all or nothing for Duras. She puts everything in to language. The more she puts in, the fewer words she uses. Words can be nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

To write ‘The Lover’, Duras did not distrust emotion.
“She was a reckless thinker, egomaniac, a bit preposterous”.

Them And Us:
“We owe a great deal to the grandly expressive female hysterics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their apparently inexplicable symptoms (loss of voice, paralysis of limbs, anorexia, bulimia, chronic fatigue, fainting fits, indifference to life) were asking subversive questions about femininity: what doesn’t mean to be a woman? What should a woman be? Who is your body supposed to please and what is it for? If she is required to cancel her own desires, what is she supposed to do with them? Hysteria is the language of the protesting body”.
“At the start of Freud’s career in patriarchal Vienna, he was under the impression there was one sexuality, and that it was male. Fortunately, he changed his mind, but he humbly confessed that after thirty years of professional practice, he still did not know what woman wanted”.

🥰
“If I were to measure the love of mothers for their children with coffee spoons, there would never be enough spoons for that kind of love”.

If you already know that you are a Deborah Levy fan — choosing to read these stories is a no brainer.
But if you are completely new to Levy — dip your toes in.
Deborah Levy, (British novelist, playwright, and poet), has a lot to offer readers.
She was born in South Africa. She was educated in the United Kingdom. She wrote numerous plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company….many published novels and short stories and an autobiography…..as well as her “living autobiographies” books….
Levy is an author to read > PERIOD!
“She especially likes looking at one character through another, and is interested in women who don’t have homes and aren’t sure where to look for them”. I AM INTERESTED IN THIS TOO. (more personal than I want to share here).

One last quote …

Levy writes about: Violette Leduc:
“She is a writer who energizes whatever she gives her attention to, an orange shrivelling in the sun, an ink stain on a table, the white porcelain of a salad bowl. Leduc refused to bore herself. Nothing is decoratively arranged to suggest atmosphere or a sense of place or to set a scene. Everything on the page is there because the narrator perceives it as doing something”.

Elyse (yeah little old me) writes about Deborah Levy:
She can write pretty much anything and make it sail smoothly in the wind. Her stories are full of energy and insight.
While life is complicated and dangerous and full of yearning……Levy gives us unpretentious honesty and intelligence….in the context of loving passion for language and life.

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