The Cost of Living A Working Autobiography eBook Ä ↠ PDF/EPUB

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 critiues 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

10 thoughts on “The Cost of Living A Working Autobiography

  1. says:

    Even stronger than the excellent Things I Don't Want to Know Levy is firing on all cylinders in this short memoir segment which details a year of change after a divorce and examines instances of erasure of women in modern society The scenes are memorable poignant and often hilarious a run over chicken from a grocery store in a road; leaves in her hair during a pitch; birds sipping water on a porchTo separate from love is to live a risk free life What's the point of that sort of life? As I wheeled my electric bike through the park on the way to my writing shed my hands had turned blue from the cold I had given up wearing gloves because I was always grappling in the dark for keys I stopped by the fountain only to find it had been switched off A sign from the council read this fountain has been winterizedI reckoned that is what had happened to me too

  2. says:

    I didn't realize this was part of an autobiographical project Deborah Levy had already started the first being Things I Don't Want to Know she calls working autobiography but after enjoying this one so much I will definitely go back and read the others past and futureI can't uote from my copy because it is an advanced readers copy but that would take forever as I believe I highlighted half of it It's about reinventing herself at 50 of leaving a marriage that wasn't working of forming a new relationship with her daughters of hitting her creative stride right as life reuired the most attention of creating a new space for her writing of redefining feminism and femininity etc She also talks about how the illness and death of her mother informed her two most recent novels Hot Milk and Swimming Home She also said it was all these events that caused her to shift into writing in the first person for the first time Has anyone noticed this? It made my understanding of her work click in place in a way it hadn't uite Thanks to the publisher for providing early access to this title through NetGalley It comes out July 10 2018 This is one to buy for reading and rereading

  3. says:

    A meditation on marriage death and writing The Cost of Living explores what it means to find a new sense of purpose at midlife The memoir’s made up of fourteen short personal essays that bring together literary analysis social criticism and autobiography Read in seuence the essays chart Levy’s attempt to build a new life for herself and her children after she separated from her longtime husband at fifty; as the author vividly recounts her journey she surveys what writers like Marguerite Duras and Simone de Beauvoir have written about female autonomy and she draws attention to the many ways in which men suppress women’s voices Levy’s points are as incisive and memorable as her prose is unassuming and precise and her reference to other writers’ works strengthens her own arguments

  4. says:

    Deborah Levy is a woman for our times She is up to her neck in this moment stewing like a teabag One can imagine calming a stressed constituent by sitting her down and handing her a cupa copy of Levy’s slim new book a working autobiography a uiet private assessing look at a life which tries to keep the love from leaking out “Femininity as a cultural personality was no longer expressive for me It was obvious that femininity as written by men and performed by women was the exhausted phantom that still haunted the early twenty first century” Levy is an adult If she hasn’t seen it all she seen plenty enough to make judgments While she doesn’t “have it all together” she is confident enough to know that is not always the most salient fact in a well lived life I particularly appreciated the description of riding her e bike to an appointment with the movie people on a rainy day She wasn’t aware she had several wet leaves caught in her hair from pushing under the apple tree by her writing shed The movie people wanted to make a film of one of her books She tried to convince them she had a techniue to present the past alongside the present without the use of flashbacks She'd in fact learned it from watching favorite filmmakersWithin this short memoir Levy treats us to several examples of her no flashback techniue Each is ingenious and would be an excellent challenge for students of writing She is inventive enough to have thought of several ways The notion of mother is a meditation topic in this memoir Levy is a mother divorced now with two teenaged girls Her own mother dies during Levy's period of mourning for her old life pre divorce Thus she is doubly bereaved “We do not want mothers who gaze beyond us longing to be elsewhere We need her to be of this world lively capable entirely present to our needs” She recognizes motherhood is some kind of impossible condition open to fulfilling the needs of others while reneging on what one owes oneself “When our father does the things he needs to do in the world we understand it is his due If our mother does the things she needs to do in the world we feel she has abandoned us It is a miracle she survives our mixed messages written in society’s most poisoned ink It is enough to drive her mad” Just so Born in South Africa Levy travelled to England as a young girl Once Levy’s mother made a return visit to SA without her; her postcard back to Levy in England sounded to my ear like sister than mother The years fell away She'd visited friends who supported her during the years of political turmoil during the transition form apartheid to democracy of which she had been an active participant Moments like these accordion lives—is this not an example of flashback without flashback? We read on only to discover and instances of the collapse of time Levy has indeed given us several ways to view history rather than through a distancing lens Perhaps my favorite moment of many which worked beautifully was a description of finding something in a store that would suit her mother but shortly after her mother’s death She temporarily forgot the death part and brought the item to the counter to purchase When her mind suddenly kicked into the present from the past she cried out Oh No No No No and ran from the store “At that moment I came too close to understanding the way Hamlet speaks Shakespeare’s most sorrowful words I mean not just the actual words but how he might sound when he says them”These moments come rarely in a lifetime When they do we must mark the insightI loved this slim volume so full of someone else Levy is just interesting Postscipt Levy mentions Nadine Gordimer in one description of her mother and I am reminded I’d never understood or perhaps never had the patience to understand Gordimer’s writing She reminds me this may be a good time for me to experience her again

  5. says:

    Towards the end of last year I picked up a collection of essays by Deborah Levy entitled Things I Don't Want to Know These essays were written as a feminist response to George Orwell's Why I Write which I was reading at the time I adored Orwell's writing but there was something about Levy's essay formed responses that sparked something inside of me When I saw her next volume of essays were due to be published shortly after this I knew I had to read them too and was instantly sure I was going to adore them just as muchThis second volume is far inwardly turned than its predecessor Much of the short anthology deals with personal anecdotes from the author's life but I still found it an eually as important creation She shares her personal history but also alongside this her ideas about gender construction and stereotypes in society and her negation of the expected grief and healing and all the stages in between and so much than could ever conceivably seem to be packed into just over 100 pages of writingHer lyrical prose and ability to portray emotion in word remained of the sublime brilliance I already knew her to possess I did not need a prior familiarity with Levy's fiction or her backstory to enjoy this I only needed to open my heart and allow her sorrow and her fragility but also her knowledge and her bravery to consume me This is an overwhelmingly powerful collection which is almost brutal in its emotional assault And I unreservedly adored it for thatI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review Thank you to the author Deborah Levy and the publisher Penguin for this opportunity

  6. says:

    Deborah Levy has a uniue style of writing which references a disparate range of influences and layers in a lot of symbolism in order to tease out some of the most essential uestions about life I admired the way her novel “Hot Milk” looks at what happens when familial roles are reversed or become fluid So it's absolutely fascinating reading “The Cost of Living” which is part of what's been branded Levy's “living autobiography” and follows the time period in which she wrote “Hot Milk” She describes the state of flux her life was in this period with the death of her mother and a separation from her longtime husband but also the professional success she was experiencing with her novel “Swimming Home” being shortlisted for the Booker Prize and its being optioned for a film But rather than focusing on the mechanics and reasons behind all these changes she traces an everyday account of her life moving forward renting a small writing studio at the back of someone's garden and considering her position in life because she surmises “We either die of the past or we become an artist” It's an emotionally arresting account that makes many pithy observations about gender identity and the writing lifeRead my full review of The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy on LonesomeReader

  7. says:

    I loved this

  8. says:

    “All writing is about looking and listening and paying attention to the world” writes Deborah Levy and where has she been all my life? She’s an exuisite writer who crafts her words lyrically and with great insightHere in this slim and sensual working autobiography she becomes her own key character leaving her marriage of two decades “To become a person someone else had imagined for us is not freedom—it is to mortgage our life to someone else’s fear with her two daughters Vivid scenes emerge – Deborah spartan writing shed that was once the refuge of poet Adrian Mitchell her blossoming friendship with the delightful Celia Adrian Mitchell’s octogenarian widow her electric bicycle that enables her to shop for exotic oranges for her daughters’ breakfast her connection with the person she refers to as “the man who cried at the funeral” and his loverPlayful at times poignant at others Deborah Levy never skirts raw emotions; for example the death of her mother One of the most extraordinary images is her visit each day to a Turkish newsagent to purchase ice lollies lime strawberry even the dreaded orange which give her mother pleasure and her devastation when the shop runs out of every flavor but bubblegum which her mother cannot consume With this little nugget of a story Deborah Levy speaks the worldI loved this little memoir filled with humanity at every turn Certainly it has made me curious and eager to read Swimming Home and Hot Milk novels written by Ms Levy that are alluded to at various places My time with her story was time extremely well spent

  9. says:

    A short but brilliant memoir about life in the aftermath of Levy's divorce the challenges and opportunities of rebuilding a life at 50 The writing is spectacular funny insightful and rich

  10. says:

    There are some writers if I haven’t read them for a while I start to get an itch to read them and it’s all about the voice I’m not really bothered what the very best writers want to talk about especially essayists as it’s just about getting to spend time in that person’s head and share their sensibility