An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell
by Deborah Levy
Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this dystopian philosophical poem about individual freedom and the search for the good life.
Something keeps drawing me back to Deborah Levy and I’m not sure what it is. Some of her books I love and some I seem to hate! My sixth and most recent Levy read sits somewhere in the middle. It’s “An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell”, a poetic tale of a brief love affair between an unnamed man and woman. The story is told through alternating chapters, or sections, flicking between ‘He’ and ‘She’.
I’ve not read a lot of poetry, but this definitely isn’t what I imagine when I think of a poem and I’m not sure I’m really experience enough in the genre to properly judge it. It’s cryptic, it’s dark and it’s a little odd. There were several passages that I enjoyed, but I’m not really sure what to make of it as a whole piece of work. I wonder if some of the meaning went over my head without me noticing!
I didn’t find this piece to be particularly memorable, and I couldn’t describe it to you in great detail a couple of days later, but while I was reading, I was fully engrossed and that’s got to be a good thing! It’s one of those books that you have to read all in one go to not disrupt the flow and at less than 100 pages, this was easy to do.
So I think I liked it! It’s one of those books that I’ll probably come back to down the line and things will fall into place and I’ll fall in love with it, but for now, it was just an okay read for me.
Overall rating: “An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell” is an enjoyable quick read, but it’s not something that’s going to stay with me forever. It sits somewhere in the middle of my varying opinions of Deborah Levy’s work so far – 3 stars.
See my other reviews of books by Deborah Levy here: