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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Slightly yellowing pages. / Binding: Paperback / Publisher: Anchor / Pub. Date: 2001-09-18 Attributes: Book, 256 pp / Stock#: 2047301 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Sex and Real Estate: Why We Love Houses Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (September 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385720394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385720397
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,745,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Were this book only about sex and real estate, it would quickly get dull. After all, the comparison between buying real estate and dating, while apt, doesn't merit more than the few pages devoted to it in the introduction. Fortunately, Marjorie Garber tackles much more than the title implies, delving into literature, history, cinema, and psychology in order to make sense of the fantasies and longings we project onto our homes. Chapters examine the cultural role of the house as lover, mother, body, dream, trophy, history, and escape, and range from Jane Austen to Steve Martin, the history of architecture to Puritan guilt. In her teasing and self-effacing way (Garber admits to her own house fetishes), the erudite professor gives us the history of the bathroom and analyzes the current trend of moving what was once the most hidden room of the house into the foreground (along with the kitchen, which wealthy families of the past would not have deigned to enter).

While contemplating the dream house, she looks at dreams themselves, in particular Carl Jung's famous dream of himself as a house and its image of the collective unconscious. In one of the best chapters, she explains how mother and home became conflated as part of the 19th-century idealization of domesticity. Ultimately, the idea of home as fantasy or desire is the foundation of Garber's thesis: "Home is more than a place ... it is the ground of possibility, a place of beginning and ending (or, as the poets have it, of womb and tomb). But more and more it is also a conscious fiction." As time becomes a longed-for commodity, home has become a substitute for the unlived life, the repository of our desires. Though these can never truly be satisfied, the attempt to bring our dreams to material life is a perennial one. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Anyone who has looked, even casually, at what are called "shelter" magazines, or who has engaged in the exhausting process of buying or selling property, will have been struck by the peculiarly erotic quality of the language used to describe the houses we live in or seek to own. Perhaps prompted by her own foray into real estate, Garber, author of Symptoms of Culture and Dog Love, among many other books, applies her richly stocked scholarly imagination to a consideration of the cultural role of the house. In a series of witty essays on the "House as Mother," as "Beloved," as "Body," as "Trophy" and the like, Garber segues smoothly in the course of a page or two from Freud and Jung to Chaucer, Shakespeare and popular film, effectively elaborating her contention that the house is not just something on which we lavish our erotic or emotional attention in lieu of a more appropriate object, but is also "a primary object of affection and desire." As a professor of English at Harvard and director of its Humanity Center, Garber is an established academic. While dazzling, her erudition is not intimidating; this book is bound to prompt lively after dinner discussion and perhaps a little abashed self-recognition in the nation's suburban great rooms and downtown lofts. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Galen on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This series of connected essays purports to support a thesis, that for middleaged baby boomer (American, of a certain income level - let's face it) folks - the "We" of the title - real estate, specifically the house, is now in the place once reserved for sex. All the passion "we" brought to sex and love, now "we" bring to the desire for the right house. It's a glib and silly assertion, made all the more so by the annoying "We." Speak for yourself! I kept wanting to shriek.
Dr. Garber is an able writer, her eyes and ears are peeled for symbols and signs, and she can discuss her various themes wonderfully coherently, even elegantly. But she is not making sense when she attempts to pathologize (for example) communities' attempts to standardize exterior paint colors. For heaven's sakes, it's been done in Scandinavian and European countries (now democracies) for generations, with no measurable loss of the citizenry's psychic well-being.
She indulges in generalization which grate. Dr. Garber asserts that today's glossy,over-the-top shelter magazines such as Architectural Digest are today's pornography. She lists wording that anthropomorphizes real estate, as supporting evidence. This high-minded thought is evidently unknown to pornographers, who would appear to be doing a good business despite their continuing exclusion of real estate from their products. Again, one wishes that she could have personalized her assertions.
I think that a more honest subtitle for this book would have "Why I Love Houses." Were Dr. Garber to have simply written of her own passionate flights of fancy and considerable obsessions and attachments, rather than attempting to universalize them, I think she would have had a better treatise.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By HeyJudy VINE VOICE on December 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating concept, and a marketable one as well, in light of America's current infatuation with the Edifice Complex. Considering the author's scholarly credentials, SEX AND REAL ESTATE should have been a absorbing book. "Should have" is the pivotal phrase here. No question that Garber's body of knowledge is vast--she hops all over the map with only the most tenuous connection to her thesis. Maybe she merely was showing off how much smarter she is than the average reader. While I have no doubt but that this fact is true, the book still quickly descends into boring psychobabble. Anyone seeking enlightenment is bound to be disappointed.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is so bad, it deserves less than one star. I'm surely not alone in wondering why the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at Harvard has stooped to publishing this kind of nonsense. Garber obviously thinks she's being hip in discussing "grabby" topics like "sexy" real estate, but the result is simply embarrassing and puerile--a new intellectual low for cultural studies, which in most quarters is already straining for credibility.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Traci Smith on October 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I read all the other views, but I sell Real Estate, and lots of it - I can tell you that she nails the emotions many people attach to their homes. If you make your living selling homes you will find this book helpful, especially if you've had a run of nut case buyers!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
For those interested in the difference between house and home, this IS the book. Not only is it an intense review of the comparison of house and home, but it tackles the topic of the contemporary obsession with the past and instant tradition. References a lot of literary texts as well as psycho-analytical studies and "Emily Post" style writings.
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