The Cost of Living

Listen to a sample

What to expect

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy.

A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century

‘Life falls apart. We try to get a grip. We try to hold it together. And then we realize that we don’t want to hold it together…’

Picking up where Things I Don’t Want to Know left off, this short, exhilarating memoir shows a writer in radical flux, facing separation and bereavement, and emerging renewed from the ashes of a former life. Faced with the restrictions of conventional living, she dismantles her life, expands it and puts it back together in a new shape. Writing as brilliantly as ever about mothers and daughters, about social pressures and the female experience, Deborah Levy confronts a world not designed to accommodate difficult women and ultimately remakes herself in her own image.

Critics Review

  • 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

    Financial Times
  • 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

    New Statesman
  • 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

    Evening Standard

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