Cover Image: Real Estate

Real Estate

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Member Reviews

I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review 

Even better than the last one in the trilogy - If you want to read a bougie academic white woman talking about property and feminism, this is your girl. Loved it - 4.5 rounded up (Half points taken off for bougie but rounded up so there we are)
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I am new to Deborah Levy but I’m so glad to have discovered her.  Real Estate is the update to A Room of One’s Own— what does a woman need to live life as a writer? Attached to the idea of one day owning her own piece of property while inhabiting other people’s property, Levy’s conversations and extended internal monologues are lamentations fraught with yearning, while being solidly rooted in place and time.  A keen eye for observation and a relatable voice make Real Estate a memoir that all writers, especially women, should read.
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Deborah Levy's astounding wit and razor sharp rhetoric leave no stone unturned in this third and final installment of her living auto-biography trilogy. If you love Deborah Levy, you will love Real Estate. Questioning womanhood, belongings, belonging, and herself, Levy does not disappoint. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for advance access to this title!
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I expected to enjoy this book more than I did.  I like many books about small things in the life of a writer: Cafe Ino in the M Train where Patti Smith used to show up in her old pea coat and knitted cap to drink the best coffee in NYC and write; the cottage bought and remodeled by Hilary Mantel and her husband; Mary Gordon's fetish for notebooks and fountain pens (which I share); and details about Ann Patchett's bookstore and the book business.  I love the feeling of going to another world and seeing it, feeling it, getting it in its particularity.
     In Real Estate by Deborah Levy the author has an imaginary longed-for house (hence the title) that she adds to and subtracts from over time...and that's a pretty common and wonderful fantasy.  Usually, winning the lottery is a part of it.  But the times when I felt close to Ms. Levy and was co-enjoying her experience were too often interrupted by the sense that she had wandered off somewhere that had no apparent connection to where we just were.  The phrase "apropos of nothing" came to mind far too often.
      In this book Ms. Levy moves to a not-new apartment in London with a "writing shed" in the garden (loved that), she lives in Paris for nine months on a Columbia University fellowship (REALLY loved that), took a side trip to Berlin, and spent most of a summer in a rented house on a Greek island.  There are ruminations throughout about turning sixty and the difficulties women have trying not to be dominated by men.  There are some charming vignettes about unusual people and places, like the friendly man at the fishmonger's market in Paris.    
     Ms. Levy has a wide audience for her now-three-volume autobiography and I'm confident they will enjoy this book.  But it is not my cup of oolong.
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I'm sorry to say I am unable to give a review since I just can't seem to get into reading this book.  I keep starting it but get lost in the writing style and give up.  Not sure why.  I apologize to the author.
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Another brilliant book from Deborah Levy! I also appreciate her wide ranging intelligence, in her fiction and non-fiction, and her vivid imaginings. Gorgeous writing.
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This book is my fourth read by Deborah Levy, and my first of her three autobiographies. What can I say . . . I love, love her writing. How does an author take the mundane and make it mysterious? The innocuous and make it intriguing? The routine and make it riveting? I have no idea, but that's the feelings Levy's books evoke in me. In this book, 60 year old Levy fantasizes about the perfect house and what that might look like and when she might finally live in it. As a divorced, empty nester, who seems to be living and writing in an array of locations and abodes, this longing for the one perfect piece of real estate seems more metaphorical than an actual goal. The reader gets a picture of her life, more of a kaleidoscope than linear, that touches on everything from parenting to feminism to (most interestingly to me) writing. She offers a philosophical point of view front and center that adds color to even the most simple acts. If you haven't read Levy before, I personally would start withHot Milk and not with the third book of her autobiography, but fans should love this work. I can't wait to read the first two volumes.
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I discovered Deborah Levy while living in Paris, thanks to a tweet by another California expat.. When I say "discover" I really mean I came upon her very late, after apparently everyone had already been reading her books for years. Brennan's tweet inspired me to seek out The Cost of Living at Galignani Bookstore on Rue de Rivoli. I devoured it in the way I devour a very specific kind of book: the kind that I have to stop reading every few pages because it inspires me to sit down and write. If I remember the timeline correctly, soon after I bought The Cost of Living, Paris shut down for our first lockdown (or was it our second?). Paris was so tightly locked down that Galignani, Shakespeare and Company, and Red Wheelbarrow weren't even shipping books, so I had to wait for things to reopen to go back to Galignani for Things I Don't Want to Know: On Writing.

When I saw Levy had a new book on the way I did backflips. In this latest volume, Levy muses on the "unreal estate" she dreams of owning---an estate on a beach, overlooking the sea, with pomegranate trees and all sorts of diversions. In reality she lives in a small flat in London and writes in a shed (this book finds her in a different shed than she used in Things I Don't Want to Know.) Her Best Male Friend returns in this book, acting in ways that may disappoint the reader (cheating on the long suffering Nadia, for example), but never fail to entertain.

Taken as a set, these three books allow the reader to enter Levy's life at different moments, as though looking through different windows on a moving train.  Through her engaging, self-deprecating, wide-ranging voice, one glimpses intimately the sweep and tilt of one woman's literary life. A joy to read.
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I love Deborah Levy's writing--I put her with Rachel Cusk and Ali Smith in a small group of contemporary British women writers who are so smart, articulate, creative and formally daring that I have to read their books with a pen in one hand and a person in the next room who I can shout quotes from it to every few minutes. "Real Estate" is the final installment of Levy's trilogy of memoirs including "Things I Don't Want to Know" and the more recent "The Cost of Living." If that last title was concerned with marriage, motherhood and death in the wake of the author's separation from her husband and her mother's death, this latest volume interrogates what it means to find your "missing female character," as Levy sets out on solo adventures in Mumbai, Paris, Berlin and Greece. Having dismantled the Family Home in "The Cost of Living," Levy feathers her now Empty Nest (both literally in Paris and figuratively everywhere else) while nurturing the dream of a new home somewhere, "yet I could not place it geographically, nor did I know how to achieve such a spectacular house with my precarious income." It is this house--the "imagined property portfolio" that she also calls her "unreal estate,"--and the yearning to create a new kind of home that preoccupies this last volume and gives "Real Estate" its title.   

I'm sure this book, ruminative and digressive, is not for everyone. But it was essential reading for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review. Highly recommended.
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As with the other two parts of Levy's 'Living Autobiography' series (which sadly is allegedly ending with this volume, although I hope the author changes her mind about that in the ensuing years), this is an amazing synthesis of some rather profound musings with the details of a life lived well and thoughtfully. For me, she joins in a triumvirate with Ali Smith and Rachel Cusk of authors (perhaps not so coincidentally all female), who embody what I love most about writing, although I can't quite articulate why. Levy can - and often does - write about fairly mundane incidents, but in a way that makes them come alive and make one think about one's own existence and place in the world. What more can one ask for in a reading experience? 

Since I am woefully inadequate in explaining just why I love Levy (and I have read virtually everything she's written, except her plays, which I just find incomprehensible), and the wonders of this book in particular, I am just going to be lazy and direct your attention to an incredibly erudite explication of such by my good friend, Lee: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show..., who does a much better job of it than I can. 

My sincere and grateful thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA for the ARC in exchange for this honest and enthusiastic review.
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A book that flows with Deborah Levy’s thoughts ideas opinions. As she looks for real estate to own we meet her friends travel with her as she shares her life thoughts.A book that carried me along with her train of consciousness a book I will be recommending and continue to think about.#netgalley #realestate
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Great collection of astute essays written to explore several stream of consciousness thoughts.  I adored this.  I am already thinking  of reading it again.  I highly recommend.
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