A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century
The powerful second memoir from the twice-Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Hot Milk and Swimming Home
'Life falls apart.
We try to get a grip and hold it together.
And then we realise we don't want to hold it together . . .'
'At the age of 50 and after decades of north London family-making, Levy finds herself cast adrift from her marriage and, crucially, without any desire to swim back. It is the story of every woman throughout history who has expended her love and labour on making a home that turns out to serve the needs of everyone except herself. Wonderful. Not so much a memoir as an eloquent manifesto for what Levy calls "a new way of living" ' Guardian
'Wise, subtle and ironic, Levy's every sentence is a masterpiece of clarity and poise . . . a brilliant writer' Daily Telegraph
'A graceful and lyrical rumination on the questions, "What is a woman for? What should a woman be?" ' Tatler
'I can't think of any writer aside from Virginia Woolf who writes better about what it is to be a woman' Observer
'Extraordinary and beautiful, suffused with wit and razor sharp insights' Financial Times
'A heady, absorbing read' Evening Standard
Deborah Levy is a most generous writer. What is wonderful about this short, sensual, embattled memoir is that it is not only about the painful landmarks in her life - the end of a marriage , the death of a mother - it is about what it is to be alive. I can't think of any other writer aside from Virginia Woolf who writes better about the liminal, the domestic, the non-event, and what it is to be a woman... This is a little book about a big subject. It is about how to find a new way of living
Extraordinary and beautiful, suffused with wit and razor sharp insights
It is the story of every woman throughout history who has expended her love and labour on making a home that turns out to serve the needs of everyone except herself... 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
Ingenious, practical and dryly amused... This is a manifesto for a risky, radical kind of life, out of your depth but swimming all the same
Wise, subtle and ironic, Levy is a brilliant writer... Each sentence is a small masterpiece of clarity and poise. That shed should be endowed with a blue plaque
A heady, absorbing read
This, from Deborah Levy, is exceptional. A memoir of life, art and separation. How to write when you're broke, have no writing space, are a parent. Also: crushed chickens, electric bikes, plumbing. Out in May and an early contender for one of the books of the year
Both memoir and feminist manifesto, her writing focuses so sharply on what it means to be alive that she's given me much-needed clarity...Levy subtly informs us about what it is to be a woman.
In this interview with Five Dials, Deborah Levy, discusses The Cost of Living, the next instalment in her trilogy of 'living autobiographies'