The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy
A Working Autobiography

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The result is a piece of work that is not so much a memoir as an eloquent manifesto for what Levy calls “a new way of living” in the post-familial world.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A searching examination of all the dimensions of love, marriage, mourning, and kinship from two-time Booker Prize finalist Deborah Levy.

To strip the wallpaper off the fairy tale of The Family House in which the comfort and happiness of men and children has been the priority is to find behind it an unthanked, unloved, neglected, exhausted woman.

The Cost of Living explores the subtle erasure of women's names, spaces, and stories in the modern everyday. In this "living autobiography†? infused with warmth and humor, Deborah Levy critiques the roles that society assigns to us, and reflects on the politics of breaking with the usual gendered rituals. What does it cost a woman to unsettle old boundaries and collapse the social hierarchies that make her a minor character in a world not arranged to her advantage?

Levy draws on her own experience of attempting to live with pleasure, value, and meaning--the making of a new kind of family home, the challenges of her mother's death--and those of women she meets in everyday life, from a young female traveler reading in a bar who suppresses her own words while she deflects an older man's advances, to a particularly brilliant student, to a kindly and ruthless octogenarian bookseller who offers the author a place to write at a difficult time in her life. The Cost of Living is urgent, essential reading, a crystalline manifesto for turbulent times.
 

About Deborah Levy

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Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and broadcast on the BBC. She is the author of highly praised novels including Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography, and Billy and Girl. She lives in London.
 
Published July 10, 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing. 144 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Cost of Living
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kathryn Hughes on Apr 06 2018

The result is a piece of work that is not so much a memoir as an eloquent manifesto for what Levy calls “a new way of living” in the post-familial world.

Read Full Review of The Cost of Living: A Working... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kate Kellaway on Apr 01 2018

I read this book with indecent speed and greed, but it deserves to be read at a pace closer to lived time. I particularly love Levy’s amused curiosity about strangers.

Read Full Review of The Cost of Living: A Working... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Jul 03 2018

...The Cost of Living is a smart, slim meditation on womanhood informed by Levy's wide reading. Simone de Beauvoir, Emily Dickinson, James Baldwin, Virginia Woolf — they're just some of the Wise Ones Levy looks to for pointers about how a woman can be...

Read Full Review of The Cost of Living: A Working... | See more reviews from NPR

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