pillow talk in europe and other places, by deborah levy

Clever, witty short stories with a liberal dash of Mavis Gallant, as is only right. I liked the first one best. In it, Levy is acute on the frenemyships of women:

I don’t find your life as boring as you think I do. I find it more boring than you think I do. People in couples are despicable company. They play out their lives to me hoping I will reassure them they’re deeply loveable together and frankly they are not. All the same I want a relationship and I want it to be more exciting than yours so I thank you for setting some very low standards that I can only improve on.

Her view of my countrypeople, while probably accurate, strikes this reader as surreal:

Marly is the first Australian I’ve met who has any angst. I can’t imagine suntanned existentialists. It’s not possible to exercise the philosophy of despair while sitting at beach bars in shorts, drinking smoothies with the surf rolling and moaning under a cloudless sky.

That made me laugh. When I lived in Sydney I was dead inside.

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