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Real Estate by Deobrah Levy


Real Estate by Deborah Levy
UK Publication: May 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Penguin General UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

What will you leave behind?

Synopsis from Goodreads: ‘Three bicycles. Seven ghosts. A crumbling apartment block on the hill. Fame. Tenderness. The statue of Peter Pan. Silk. Melancholy. The banana tree. A Pandemic. A love story.’

From one of the great thinkers and writers of our time, comes the highly anticipated final instalment in Deborah Levy’s critically acclaimed ‘Living Autobiography’
‘I can’t think of any writer aside from Virginia Woolf who writes better about what it is to be a woman’ Observer on The Cost of Living

Following the international critical acclaim of The Cost of Living, this final volume of Deborah Levy’s ‘Living Autobiography’ is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and boldly intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it.

‘I began to wonder what myself and all unwritten and unseen women would possess in their property portfolios at the end of their lives. Literally, her physical property and possessions, and then everything else she valued, though it might not be valued by society. What might she claim, own, discard and bequeath? Or is she the real estate, owned by patriarchy? In this sense, Real Estate is a tricky business. We rent it and buy it, sell and inherit it – but we must also knock it down.’

My Thoughts:  An interesting look at what physical possessions Levy has decided contribute to her “Real Estate” or as she sometimes muses her “un-real Estate”. In the realm of “Real Estate” we have her possessions including the banana tree which becomes a substitute third child and her body of work. In the “Un-real Estate” realm we have the house Levy imagines for herself borrowing various bits and pieces from other houses real and imagined.

In this part of the autobiography trilogy Levy is nearly 60, she is divorced her and youngest daughter is leaving home making Levy the archetypal empty nester but among all this she has a stunning work opportunity in Paris where she embraces her empty nest and she is a well-regarded and recognised writer. Her life has had various ups and downs but it can’t be called boring and her international travel is something to be envied especially in the Covid years we have just lived through.

Who would like this? This is an interesting book because it is not a straightforward linear autobiography instead it is a mix and mash of random thoughts and feelings (rather like real life) I would recommend it to anyone who has previously enjoyed Levy’s work or who wants to know what goes on in the head of a writer.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I’m intrigued. Hope our Library system buys it.


    October 23, 2022

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