Things I Don't Want to Know: Book summary and reviews of Things I Don't Want to Know by Deborah Levy

Things I Don't Want to Know

On Writing

By Deborah Levy

Things I Don't Want to Know
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jun 2014,
    128 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Blending personal history, gender politics, philosophy, and literary theory into a luminescent treatise on writing, love, and loss, Things I Don't Want to Know is Deborah Levy's witty response to George Orwell's influential essay "Why I Write." Orwell identified four reasons he was driven to hammer at his typewriter - political purpose, historical impulse, sheer egoism, and aesthetic enthusiasm - and Levy's newest work riffs on these same commitments from a female writer's perspective.

As she struggles to balance womanhood, motherhood, and her writing career, Levy identifies some of the real-life experiences that have shaped her novels, including her family's emigration from South Africa in the era of apartheid; her teenage years in the UK where she played at being a writer in the company of builders and bus drivers in cheap diners; and her theater-writing days touring Poland in the midst of Eastern Europe's economic crisis, where she observed how a soldier tenderly kissed the women in his life goodbye.

Spanning continents (Africa and Europe) and decades (we meet the author at seven, fifteen, and fifty), Things I Don't Want to Know brings the reader into a writer's heart.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Author of the Man Booker Prize shortlisted Swimming Home offers a slim, nuanced autobiography that addresses Orwell's timeless question of "Why I Write" from a woman's perspective" - Publishers Weekly

"Readers get only a vague sense of what these things we don't want to know might be in a book that seems like a catharsis for the writer but might prove enigmatic for most readers." - Kirkus

"A vivid, striking account of a writer's life, which feminises and personalises Orwell's blunt assertions." - The Spectator (UK)

"Powerful." -The New Statesman(UK)

"[Levy] is a skilled wordsmith and creates an array of intense emotions and moods in precise, controlled prose." -The Independent(UK)

"While billed as a response to George Orwell's essay 'Why I Write,' it is as much an up-to-date version of A Room of One's Own, and, like the Virginia Woolf essay, I suspect it will be quoted for many years to come." -The Irish Examiner

The information about Things I Don't Want to Know shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Deborah Levy Author Biography

Deborah Levy was born in 1959 in South Africa, where her father was a member of the African National Congress, an academic, and a historian. The family emigrated to Wembley Park, England in 1968. Her parents divorced in 1974

Levy trained at Dartington College of Arts, leaving in 1981 to write a number of plays, including Pax, Heresies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and and was director and writer for Manact Theatre Company, Cardiff

In 1986, at the age of 27, she wrote and published her first novel Beautiful Mutants. Her second novel, Swallowing Geography, was published in 1993, while her third one, Billy and Girl, was published in 1996. Swimming Home, her latest novel, was published in 2011 and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.

She has always written across a...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Deborah Levy's Website

Other books by Deborah Levy at BookBrowse
  • Swimming Home jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  132Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.