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Last edited by Catherine Lenoble
November 6, 2014 | History

Who are you ? 6 editions

Cover of: Who are you ? | Anna Kavan
About the Book

The people in this story live through the same situations twice over. Their identifies are equally real, or unreal, in each case; but, because of slight variations in background and atmosphere, neither the outcome nor they themselves are quite the same the second time, and the brain-fever bird's question, Who are you? can only be left unanswered - the answer could just as well be either of their different identifies; or both; or neither of them.

Anna Kavan, a write with a vision entirely her own, believes there is no such thing as absolute reality. For her nothing is what it seems, everything is essentially unknown, and the components of so-called reality - circumstances, environment, etc. - are fluid, in a continually changing state, rather like different coloured spotlights, affording brief distorted glimpses of events and people, which never remain the same for more than a second. In this fluctuating unreliable light, certain momentary aspects of the lives of the characters are here twice recorded, before they pass into other moments and different aspects of their existence - a repetition which accentuates the economy and directness of the writing, quite without superfluous decoration.

Her novels and short stories have for some years been considered by eminent critics as among the most absorbing now being written. Lawrence Durrell described her as belonging with Virginia Woolf, Anais Nin and Djuna Barnes, to 'the great subjective-feminine tradition which has tried to vive us a poetic notation of the female artist's world'. This new book takes her work a stage further in experimental technique and uncompromising imagination. (From the book jacket, first british edition published in 1963).


“The man has a curious inborn conviction of his own superiority which is quite unshakeable. All his life he has bullied and browbeaten those around him by his high-and-mightiness and his atrocious temper. As a boy he terrorized his entire family by his tantrums, when, if thwarted, he would throw himself on the floor and yell till he went blue in the face. It has been much the same ever since. Everyone's terrified of his rages. He has only to start grinding his teeth, and people fall flat before him.”
added by Catherine Lenoble. "the victim pattern"

6 editions First published in 1963

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: Who are you?
Who are you?
2002, Owen
in English - Paperback ed.
Cover of: Wër bist du ?
Wër bist du ?
1984, Herbstein
in German
Cover of: L'oiseau qui es-tu ?
L'oiseau qui es-tu ?
1979, Henri Veyrier
in French
Cover of: Who are you ?
Who are you ?: a novel
1975, Peter Owen
in English
Cover of: Who are you?
Who are you?
1963, Scorpion Press
in English - First edition
Cover of: Who Are You?
Who Are You?
1982, October, Peter Owen Ltd
Hardcover in English


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November 6, 2014 Edited by Catherine Lenoble Edited without comment.
November 5, 2014 Edited by Catherine Lenoble Edited without comment.
August 21, 2014 Edited by Catherine Lenoble add places
July 18, 2014 Edited by Catherine Lenoble add publishing info + cover
December 9, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page