Floating Through the Hyperspace of One Hundred Per Cent Wool

“‘There are days’, she says, ‘when I stare into the carpet. We have a lot of carpet in our house in Frankfurt because it is very big. I imported it from Rome. It is blue, the blue of the Mediterranean.’ She stops, as if to measure the effect of her words on the provincial Detective Inspctor. ‘There are days’, she repeats, ‘when I do nothing but stare into the carpet. There are places, near the television set for example, where the blue deepens and I am sucked, abducted, into its dark centre. I am an alien in my own home, floating through the hyperspace of one hundred per cent wool.'”
Deborah Levy, The Unloved

What Do We Do With the Things We Do Not Want to Know?

“I realised that the question I had asked myself while writing this book [Swimming Home] was (as surgeons say) very close to the bone: ‘What do we do with knowledge that we cannot bear to live with? What do we do with the things we do not want to know?'”
Deborah Levy, Things I don’t Want to Know

Very, Very Quiet

Deborah Levy, Interview by Mariella Frostrup, Open Book, BBC Radio 4 30 January 2014

Deborah Levy: After my father was arrested — along with Nelson Mandela and other family friends, who were fighting for human rights in the Apartheid era — I kept being asked to speak up at school. Speak louder, speaker louder — I was asked to repeat things all the time.

Mariella Frostrup: And that hadn’t happened before…

Deborah Levy: No. And so it wasn’t really that I’d become mute; I’d become very, very quiet. And I don’t think I wanted to speak — I was probably frightened about what my voice might sound like, because I was very sad. So, one day, in the playground, the school bully — who was a very tough Afrikaans girl, with white pointy teeth — asked me with uncharacteristic pity in her voice, “Are you dumb?” And I kind of shrugged because it wasn’t a yes or no answer. I was beginning to discover the power of silence, and I began to realise that what we don’t say is what really interests people. And that was an insight I was going to put to work later as a writer.