Things I Don’t Want to Know by Deborah Levy

I loved this book. Written as a response to George Orwell’s 1946 essay ‘Why I Write’, Levy’s book, framed by her times-across the years-in a hotel in Spain, is a playful and painful exploration of all that led to her lifting the pen, pushing the keys, speaking with a louder voice. 

I wanted to turn down the corner of almost every other page and her choice of quotations from other writers was so perfectly apt that I wanted to go away and read those books too. She uses these quotations to push her thinking further. If, as Adrienne Rich said, ‘No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness’ then Levy unravels Motherhood (her capital letter) as ‘an institution fathered by masculine consciousness’ that leads to Levy staring at a poster in her bathroom of the skeletal system that she continuously misreads as the societal system and to tears on every upward escalator.

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