Susan Olding’s Reading Recommendation:
I just finished Deborah Levy’s Real Estate, the third volume in her “living autobiography,” following on Things I Don’t Want to Know and The Cost of Living. Levy, as always, is brilliant on the costs of living as a woman in a patriarchal society, but here, she is also fierce and tender on the subjects of friendship, professional rivalry, motherhood, aging, guava ice cream, and the question of what it means to be a woman and a writer in late middle age. Widely and deeply read, Levy connects her reading to her narrative with such insight that I wanted to go back and read or re-read every author she quotes by name, from Apollinaire to Woolf. She also gives us insight into her career path and her process. Real Estate is an honest book, a searching book, and ultimately, a hopeful book. It’s also a very funny book—which to my mind makes it a necessary book for our increasingly sombre times.
Susan Olding is the author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays, and Big Reader. Her writing has won a National Magazine Award and appeared in journals and anthologies including The Malahat Review, The New Quarterly, and the Utne Reader. Her story "Wish You Were Here" was featured in issue 289 of The Fiddlehead. She lives with her family in Victoria.