The Cost of Living
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 Observer
Deborah Levy is the author of seven novels: Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography, The Unloved, Billy and Girl, Swimming Home, Hot Milk and The Man Who Saw Everything. She has been shortlisted twice each for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Man Booker Prize. Her short story collection, Black Vodka, was nominated for the International Frank O'Connor Short Story Award and was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, as were her acclaimed dramatizations of Freud's iconic case studies, Dora and The Wolfman. She has also written for The Royal Shakespeare Company and her pioneering theatre writing is collected in Levy: Plays 1. Her work is widely translated.
Deborah Levy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is also the author of a formally innovative and emotionally daring trilogy of memoirs, a living autobiography on writing, gender politics and philosophy. The first two volumes, Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living, won the Prix Femina Etranger 2020. The final volume, Real Estate, will be published in Spring 2021.