Book review: Real Estate by Deborah Levy
The final book in Levy’s ‘living autobiography’ trilogy shows ‘hard-won, lucid wisdom’
Over the past decade, Deborah Levy has pioneered a new form of memoir, which she calls “living autobiography”, said Stephanie Merritt in The Observer. In three “drily funny” volumes that blend memoir with “cultural analysis”, she has rigorously pursued the question of “how a woman – specifically a woman artist – should live in the second act of her life”.
This new volume is the trilogy’s final instalment, and it finds Levy living alone for virtually the first time as an adult, said Susannah Butter in the London Evening Standard. She is about to turn 60; her youngest daughter is off to university; and she is divorced from her husband of 23 years (their split was the focus of the previous volume).
In a “beautifully crafted and thought-provoking snapshot of a life”, we follow the author as she travels around the world, swimming in Greece and doing a writers’ residency in Paris. Perhaps inevitably, given its subject matter, this volume lacks the “urgency” of the previous volumes, said Claire Lowdon in The Sunday Times. Yet at its best, it displays the “hard-won, lucid wisdom” that has helped turn Levy into a “cult” author.
Hamish Hamilton 304pp £10.99; The Week Bookshop £8.99
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