81vdfQMDihLThe Voice in My Ear

Jonathan Cape, 2020; 259pp; ISBN 978-1787331983

Beautifully, psychologically exact. Leviston reveals, confronts, disarms and pares us from our unwitting, falser selves. Superbly written and fearlessly imagined fiction. (Sarah Hall)

A remarkable work of fiction – the idea behind it is both brilliant and simple, but it is the execution that brings it off so unsettlingly well. Leviston writes with lacerating psychological accuracy, and has a poet’s sense for the details that give us – and so much more than us – away. In The Voice in my Earthe dark undercurrents of our most ordinary relationships are exposed through a series of perfect plots and haunting character studies. (Patrick McGuinness)

A beautiful, brilliant, painful book. It is subtly but unignorably haunting, and its power builds and builds – Leviston has such a clear grasp of the most difficult aspects of being human, and being a woman, from sexual dynamics to surviving your own family. Darkly comic and quietly, devastatingly urgent. (Daisy Buchanan)

Superb. Elegant, enthralling, often frightening, Leviston walks the dangerous edge of desire and discovery in women’s lives. (Adam Foulds)

Frances Leviston’s prose, like her poetry, is as illuminating as it is unsettling. Her narratives are all about what remains unsaid and the silent inexorable falling into place of deep truth. (Lavinia Greenlaw)

The Voice in My Ear is so devastatingly perceptive and intimidatingly accomplished in a range of modes that it’s hard to sit still while you’re reading; often I found myself pacing up and down the hallway in raptures at the quality of the prose or terror at the exquisitely harrowing turn of the plot. Aside from the formal mastery, Leviston is fearless in facing difficult truths of which lesser writers never even get within telescopic range. Uncompromising and stricken but delivered through beautiful observation and unrivalled emotional and intellectual insight. (Luke Kennard)

What an extraordinary book, so dense with understanding about personhood and relatedness, about connection, disconnection and unconnection. Frances Leviston puts her distinctive and compelling style at the service of a precise, sinuous, at times agonisingly subcutaneous storytelling. There’s a clarity and superobservancy of the everyday that she conveys along with ‘the sorrow that never was said’: the hidden, the unspeakable, that shapes so much of experience. (David Hayden)

This heated, haunted debut is about the dark, violent knots we carry inside ourselves – and what happens when they start to unravel. A lyric, frightening portrayal of what it means to move through the world in female form. (Sue Rainsford)

The absorbing stories that make up Frances Leviston’s The Voice in My Ear do what fiction does best, swimming deep in complexity and ambivalence. A work of high emotional intelligence and narrative control. (Rob Doyle)

Absolutely exquisite, combining just the right amount of sweet and sour. The characters in The Voice in my Ear haunted me long after I’d finished reading. Leviston has an uncanny ability to turn a small moment into a kind of meditation on humanity. (Jan Carson)

 

disinfo cover smallDisinformation

Picador, 2015; 80pp; ISBN 9781447271147

“Eight years in the making since her first volume, Public Dream, Disinformation does not disappoint. This is poetry of a rare seriousness and excellence.” – Times Literary Supplement

“Frances Leviston’s second collection, Disinformation, is the sound of a sophisticated poet asserting her independence [...] This is writing that will endure.” – The Sunday Times

“Whatever form Leviston chooses, from the abbreviated sonnets of “Athenaeum” to a clipped short-lined quatrain or the rangy rhymed octets of “Woodland Burial”, she achieves a sense of decisive cleanliness, the momentum of the verse matching the steady completeness of her attention and then shifting gear at need.” – Guardian

“Leviston, like Elizabeth Bishop, whose influence is acknowledged directly in the poem ‘Bishop in Louisiana’, is brilliant – almost claustrophobically so – at the precise unfolding of a probing consciousness on the page.” – Poetry Review

Frances Leviston’s second collection of poems, Disinformation, displays a most beguiling voice, deeply thoughtful, varied in tone from innocent to sharp, and ending with an urgent series of questions about where our stories are taking us.” – Marina Warner, TLS Books of the Year

The two individual poetry books that I returned to most often for the precise, scalpel-like sophistication of their technique – by which a steely knowledge of the world was revealed just below a limpid surface of anecdotal language – were Frances Leviston’s Disinformation and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.” – Jeremy Noel-Tod, TLS Books of the Year

“The 2015 Best Collection Award goes to Frances Leviston’s Disinformation: technically achieved, somehow ruthless and generous at the same time: a substantial advance on Leviston’s already astonishing debut, Public Dream.” – London Review Bookshop

“Frances Leviston’s Disinformation is so good it makes one nervous.” – Poetry London

 

Public Dream

Public Dream

Picador, 2007; 50pp; ISBN 9780330440547

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize, the Jerwood-Aldeburgh Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

‘Superb…technical mastery and fresh, unrehearsed sensibility is what makes this collection so exciting.’ – The Times

“Frances Leviston’s excellent début… has the enviable knack of making the dense and complex seem effortless, offering subtle conclusions with an irresistible lightness of touch” – The Guardian

“This is the best first book I have read for years; I am sure there is a great deal more to come from Frances Leviston” – Bernard O’Donoghue

“Frances Leviston’s coolly intelligent Public Dream combines technical mastery with a lucidity that verges on the hypnotic” – The Independent

Public Dream is a first book of real interest, not least because it is a book with an abiding preoccupation by a poet who is both formally adept and who needs to find out what language can do for her” – The Observer

“[A] first book of considerable assurance and promise” – The Sunday Times

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