The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living

A Working Autobiography

Book - 2018
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"What does it cost a woman to unsettle old boundaries and collapse social hierarchies that make her a minor character in a world not arranged to her advantage? This vibrant memoir, a portrait of contemporary womanhood in flux, is an urgent quest to find an unwritten major female character who can exist more easily in the world. Levy considers what it means to live with meaning, value, and pleasure, to seize the ultimate freedom of writing our own lives, and reflects on the work of such artists and thinkers as Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, Elena Ferrante, Marguerite Duras, David Lynch, and Emily Dickinson. The Cost of Living is crucial testimony, as distinctive, witty, complex, and original as Levy's acclaimed novels"--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781635571912
Characteristics: 134 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 21, 2018

I prefer the writing style to the subjects manifested, perhaps the feminism were outdated in my calendar.

Aug 19, 2018

Boiling down a synopsis for this book would leave out all the brilliance and beautiful little treasures embedded into every sentence and every page. I've never been lost so easily in one writer's journey, particularly when on the page, it's just a story of a writer writing while separating from her husband. See how uninviting that description sounds?

A summary, no matter how interesting, leaves out all the little situations, tangential stories, and characters who show up only to do minor things like make judgy comments where she parks her bike while bringing home groceries. Those are the paragraphs, sentences, and pages that bring a normal-sounding errand into this strange fantasy where people are named, "Big Silver" and "The Man Who Cried at the Funeral." It reads like what you would write like if you were the freest, most creative, spontaneous version of yourself and you could think deeply and clearly about life, meaning, and where do we go when we can go anywhere and nowhere?

There's a hidden bonus to those of us who wonder what a writer was thinking when she was writing. Sprinkled throughout is a sneak peek into the author's writing process. She is writing the novel "Hot Milk" while writing this, and somewhat like a diary, explains some of the issues and symbolism in that book that she is considering. She explores what she was thinking when writing some of her other books as well, and you can imagine yourself in her shed, writing those books, being that talented and that cold, apples falling on the roof, old freezer humming, working through writing and working through the day living as a single woman again.

It's exactly what I need to read when I want to read something to make me feel like we all have value. This sort of diary way of storytelling works brilliantly, as did "Things I Don't Want to Know," which was the prequel. You would think someone's somewhat typical life wouldn't be worth a memoir and then another one, but I'm hoping her publisher disagrees. She could write about a week of having a bad cold and it'd be so full of interesting characters and little bits of history that you'd read straight through.

I much prefer her non-fiction to her fiction, but then again, fiction isn't my thing.


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