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  • Published: 6 August 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241987889
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

August Blue

The mesmerising new novel from the twice Booker-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home

At the height of her career, concert pianist Elsa M. Anderson - former child prodigy, now in her thirties - walks off the stage in Vienna, mid-performance.

Now she is in Athens, watching as an uncannily familiar young woman purchases the last pair of mechanical dancing horses at a flea market. Elsa soon begins a journey across Europe, on the run from her talent and her history, shadowed by the elusive woman with the dancing horses.

A dazzling portrait of melancholy and metamorphosis, August Blue uncovers the ways in which we seek to lose an old story, find ourselves in others and create ourselves anew.

  • Published: 6 August 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241987889
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Deborah Levy

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she is the author of numerous books, including the essay 'Things I Don't Want to Know'and the early novels Swallowing Geography and Beautiful Mutants. Her novel Swimming Home was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards and 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize.

Also by Deborah Levy

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Praise for August Blue

August Blue holds the remarkable balancing act that is key to Levy's writing: perfect precision at the sentence level combined with a dedication to exploring the slipperiness of reality


A gleeful read . . . [Deborah Levy's] prose is as quick and bare as ever, her manner excitingly abrupt . . . You know you'll read August Blue again

M John Harrison, Guardian

Intelligent and absurd, precise and dream-like . . . I know of few other authors who can capture an atmosphere of the eerie and the bizarre as well as she does

The Scotsman

Playful inquisitiveness and lush descriptions balance out a bassline of melancholy . . . Nobody does enigmatic like Levy

Mail on Sunday

Levy's lyrical, pitch-perfect prose, where every word is weighted with significance, is an exploration of our reasons for living, the forces that drive us and the inner music that controls the rhythms of our dance through life and love


August Blue is Levy's eighth novel, and since her 20s, she has been refining her ability to evoke feeling through writing rather than to narrate it. Her work is deeply influenced by art forms that express the embodied experience, like cinema and dance . . . Levy's writing is psychologically complex

Simran Hans, New York Times

[Levy] can sketch a scene with a few precise brushstrokes and conjure emotion out of white space on the page. A recurring call and response between Elsa and her alter ego becomes a musical refrain that takes on ever new colors. Those familiar references to swimming and bees glint through like leitmotifs

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times

[An] enigmatic novel . . . Deborah Levy's writing is rather like Philip Glass's music . . . mesmerising . . . enigmatic . . . refreshingly original

Amber Medland, Daily Telegraph

Deborah Levy's work inspires a devotion few literary authors ever achieve

Charlotte Higgins, Guardian

[A] wistful, fabular new novel . . . Since the 1990s, Deborah Levy's novels have combined a gauzy, episodic quality with pinpoint sensual detail drawn from peripatetic lives, crossing fluently between languages and national borders. Her style is full of gaps and sharp edges, circling around questions of gender and power, inheritance, autonomy and lack . . . The narrative here has a fittingly musical quality, running forward in spurts, pausing, repeating key phrases

Olivia Laing, Observer

Levy is no stranger to the uncanny. Her novels teem with oddness, with dreamlike, vertiginous scenes

Lara Pawson, Times Literary Supplement

Levy's elegantly ludic investigation into selfhood, mother love and meaning

Guardian, '2023 Summer Reads'

Deborah Levy's hazy, dreamlike novels, often set in sun-drenched Mediterranean backdrops, are an essential accompaniment to any summer holiday . . . a lyrical, surreal trip of self discovery - one that is full of Levy's wit and curious images

Leila Slimani

A meditation on artistic creativity that is sensual, enigmatic and strangely addictive

Financial Times 'What to Read this Summer'

This is a stunner

Publishers Weekly

Levy fans will delight in August Blue’s heady exploration of female creativity

Financial Times, 'Best Books of 2023'

Deborah Levy delves into the deepest patterns of family connection and self-invention in August Blue, the riddling, elegant tale of a globe-trotting concert pianist whose subconscious is catching up with her

Guardian, 'Best Books of 2023'

Beautifully atmospheric . . . a dazzling portrait of melancholy and renewal . . . Levy is a master novelist and in August Blue, a beguiling story of how identities collide and crack, she shows us what it feels like to be a divided self

Independent ‘Best Books of 2023’