[A] wonderful new book ... Levy, whose prose is at once declarative and concrete and touched with an almost oracular pithiness, has a gift for imbuing ordinary observations with the magic of metaphor ... The new volume, which follows the death of one version of the self, describes the uncertain birth of another ... She herself is not always a purely likable, or reliable, narrator of her own experience, and her book is the richer for it.
The book asks more questions than it answers, most of which circle back to the idea of a woman’s desires and how those would look if they could be separated from the expectations of a patriarchal culture ... In a series of vignettes that cross continents, Levy foregrounds the quotidian – shopping, clothes, incidental conversations – and through it allows the association of ideas to lead her into a dialogue between art and life, mothers and daughters, past and present ... The narrator of Real Estate is drily funny, irreverent, curious, even wise; she makes the reader want her for a companion ... Each of these books [in Levy's trilogy] bears several re-readings; together, they offer one version of how a woman might continually rewrite her own story.
The itemization of exquisite beauty (and its counterpart, magnificent ugliness) coupled with the randomness of fate and the ambushes of the past are hallmarks of Levy’s work ... Levy’s writing mirrors life’s incautious and uneven trajectories. Eternally curious and wide-ranging, her reported conversations with and observations of both strangers and intimates weave a wayward trail through a dense forest ...This is a work about what it means to be a writer: its reinventions, isolations, self-interrogations, its shifting penury and riches, both emotional and financial ... The outcome is a glittering triple echo of books that are as much philosophical discourse as a manifesto for living and writing.