The Cost Of Living By Deborah Levy is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Can’t lie, the cover was a big part of that. Very partial to some yellow. Shameful. Also, I tend to be interested in reading honest reflections on being a woman in it’s many dimensions. Since it’s very short (144 pages) I took this opportunity to actually read a whole book on my Kindle app. It went quite well but I did feel like I was naturally reading a bit faster. Maybe it was all the swiping. What’s your experience been with e-books/ Kindle?
It’s the second book in Levy’s set of memoirs. It’s a retrospective on life after a divorce and the death of her mother, two events which happened in succession. She reflects on the changes in her circumstances as she moves into a block of flats in North London, what women give to create a home and family. There’s sense of coming to terms with her divorce and choosing her path again. Deciding a happy ending for herself (Insert Orson Welles quote)
I had mixed thoughts on The Cost Of Living. The parts I thought were good, I loved reading. The parts I didn’t like, I found so irrelevant.
Thoughtful reflections interspersed with a lot of meandering
Some parts of the book I found so well written and even touching. Especially where Deborah Levy speaks of her relationship with her mother and daughters. Where she speaks of erasure of wives’ names by their own husbands in social settings. The labour that women put in at home that is often overlooked. Very introspective and thoughtful. I loved ‘The Big Silver’ which Levy introduced the book with, it was very subtle, unassuming way of setting the memoir up and what the messages might be. A version of the situation in “The Big Silver”, I’m sure alot of women have found themselves in.
Other parts of The Cost Of Living were so meandering that I just wondered if the sentences needed to be there. Were they necessary?? An anecdote about a possible sighting of two headed caterpillar sighted in Brazil becomes the set up for explaining why she had pillows on both ends of her bed. There were some well thought out insights in The Cost Of Living but there is also plenty of – Did we need that passage there??
There are a lot of literature references in this book made me think of how much I haven’t read in this world. Also didn’t think they were all needed but I will look some of them up.
I’m going to read this again at some point (maybe with the other instalments, also short) because there were aspects of The Cost Of Living that I really enjoyed so it could be that I just wasn’t in the mood for the other bits.
The Cost Of Living By Deborah Levy Published by Bloomsbury in 2018