The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy: a living autobiography

Why should you read this book?

The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy follows the acclaimed Things I Don’t Want to Know (read this review here). I loved the first installment which left me with my expectations very high for this one! I was not disappointed. The Cost of Living is just as fantastic.

This one, as the previous book, is a ‘living autobiography’ that revolves around Levy’s ideas on womanhood, motherhood and writing. If you love literary biographies, then this will make the perfect read.

When I am trying to write a review, I usually read the positive and negatives reviews. That is very helpful. The negative reviews of a book I loved strengthen my perspective, my opinion. I find myself disputing those arguments, internally, of course, and that process is a way of asserting my point of view. When I was reading the negative reviews of The Cost of Living, I have noticed that those readers couldn’t fully grasp the point of this short book and also found it a bit repetitive. These reviews, these feelings towards this book are legitimate. But I wonder: isn’t life repetitive? isn’t life pointless sometimes? Deborah Levy is sharing her observations and reflections on being a mother, on being a woman, on being alive. Repetition and this lack of certainty, sense and precision are exactly what characterizes life. Levy’s writing was a reflex of our own lives. Needless to say, I related to her point of view, to her perspective.

I am definitely reading more of Deborah Levy! That’s for sure! I’d like to thank Penguin Random House for the free copy. You can buy it here.

“Life falls apart. We try to get a grip and hold it together. And then we realize we don’t want to hold it together.”

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What does it mean to be free – as an artist, a woman, a mother or daughter? And what is the price of that freedom?

In this dazzling memoir, Deborah Levy confronts the essential questions of modern womanhood with humour, pragmatism, and profoundly resonant wisdom. Reflecting on the period when she wrote the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Hot Milk – when her mother was dying, her daughters were leaving home, her marriage was coming to an end – she is characteristically eloquent on the social expectations and surreal realities of daily life. And expanding far beyond these bounds, she describes a uniquely frank, wise and thrilling manifesto for female experience: embracing the exhilarating terror of freedom, seeking to understand what that freedom could mean and how it might feel.

Taken from the publisher’s website.

Book Details:
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd
Published on: April 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Price: £12,99

4 stars

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