Blue Field

By (author): Elise Levine

When her friend Jane dies while exploring an underwater cave with her husband Rand, Marilyn takes up diving again, to honour—and outdo—her late friend. Marilyn drags Rand with her as she increasingly pushes herself far past her limits and skill level, endangering them both in their private underwater version of hell.

After more than two decades since the release of her sensational, critically acclaimed collection Driving Men Mad, Blue Field marks Elise Levine’s much anticipated return to form.


Elise Levine

Elise Levine is the author of the novels Blue Field and Request and Dedications, and the story collections Driving Men Mad and the forthcoming This Wicked Tongue. Her work has also appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Collagist, Blackbird, Best Canadian Stories, and The Journey Prize Anthology, among other publications, and has been named a finalist for Best Small Fictions 2018. She is the recipient of a Canadian National Magazine Award for fiction; awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council; and residency fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ucross Foundation, among others. She lives in Baltimore, MD.



“Reading the novel is a sensation akin to drifting weightlessly beneath the surface of the text…dazzling, textured, tightly woven.”—Music & Literature

“Levine uses raw, hallucinatory prose to tell this curious story of a woman becoming undone… The novel’s visceral wordplay, rough sexuality, and anguished depiction of survivor’s guilt are bound to captivate its audience. A transgressive, gut-wrenching portrayal of grief that asks what it’s like to drown.”Kirkus Reviews

“A vibrant mixture of intimate moments … Blue Field is an exploration of two selves coming together with the sea. Levine’s aquatic language is gorgeous, displaying her literary prowess.”—This Magazine

“Elise Levine’s new novel takes place in a state of not suspense, but suspension. It is set, tellingly, in the rough space between two deaths in the protagonist’s life—first Marilyn’s parents, back to back, then her best friend. The novel ceaselessly evokes the hanging feeling of being deep underwater: all is muted, slow, and yet sensation is almost unbearably heightened … Levine is, undeniably, an outstanding wordsmith. Her writing style moves in multiple directions, making high stakes out of small movements while turning panic into poetry.”—Winnipeg Review

“Levine’s spare language works brilliantly to capture both the vastness of the open water and the claustrophobic chaos of underwater caverns [as well as] a heightened, stylized canvas for Marilyn’s addictive nature… The result is a tale of self-destruction and hubris…absolutely gripping.”Numero Cinq

“Some novels draw you in; Blue Field drags you under and keeps clamping down, an exercise in storytelling as centrifugal force.”Quill & Quire

“This taut novel immerses its readers in grief’s disorienting morass… Levine pares down sentences to a hypnotically lyrical minimalism, expressing a maximalist level of physical and emotional detail with few words… It reads like a telegraph dispatching psychological Morse code… a slim read that lands with a monolithic force.”JHU Magazine

“Elise Levine’s novel Blue Field is as immersive, hyper-vivid and true as fiction ever gets. Levine swims in the alien worlds of underwater caves, gets caught up in the forceful currents of love and the fleeting, peripheral shadows of sex and death. Here are characters who need to prove something big and occasionally make terrible mistakes. This novel illuminates the murky world of fast and altering friendships; what it feels like to lose the people we love. All of this rendered in compressed prose – diamond hard, diamond bright. Fill your lungs; you are about to dive deep. Break the surface; everything glittering and changed.”—Lisa Moore, author of February

“What James Salter did in Solo Faces for mountain climbing, Elise Levine does for diving. Blue Field is full immersion—an adventure story in a literary guise, one that holds your head under the current of its gorgeous prose until you gasp. Mysterious and terrifying, this book enthralled me.”Caroline Adderson, author of Ellen in Pieces and A History of Forgetting

“Elise Levine’s Blue Field submerged me in its exhilarating mix of language—at once visceral and beautiful, intense and immediate, moving and distant. This deep and complex narrative of loss and risk wrecked me and then rescued me with an unexpected compassion. Blue Field is an exquisite novel.”—Michael Kimball, author of Dear Everybody


“A dazzling wordsmith, a lexical tease, Levine is like a kid let loose in a leaf pile, kicking up words for the sheer joy of watching them spin.”—Toronto Star

“Reading Elise Levine is akin to a wild ride down a dark road at night … Bold and startling … Precipitous and exhilarating.”—Globe and Mail

“Taut and direct, Elise Levine’s writing compresses the distance between art and audience, drawing a reader experientially through her fiction. Levine is a visceral imagist. Her fiction renders event indistinguishable from emotion, affecting the gut as fully as the mind … The tension that Levine’s writing evokes remains unresolved, extending beyond the page of her fictions.”—Ottawa Citizen


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224 Pages
8.00in * 5.00in * .53in


April 11, 2017





Book Subjects:

FICTION / Psychological



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