To write you must read and that is something I was neglecting until late August when I promised myself that I would make an effort to consume less screen time and more literature.
Dealing with some difficult choices and trying to find a more balanced approach forward, I was craving female voices sharing their experiences of self discovery and transformation. I searched the internet and stumbled upon The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy.
From the first page, I felt myself slide into a world I understood. Our experiences weren’t the same but the fears and reflections were.
The story begins with the dissolution of Levy’s marriage at the age of fifty. Now a single mother, she finds herself navigating the intricate complexities of life, creativity and womanhood as she seeks to become emotionally and financially independent.
In a world that undervalues female voices, she struggles with the challenges of single motherhood while pursuing her career as a writer. But she embraces this new chapter of her life fully, and as she delves deep into your thoughts and emotions, her vulnerability shines through and so does her resilience.
“I had energy because I had no choice but to have energy. I had to write to support my children and I had to do all the heavy lifting. Freedom is never free. Anyone who has struggled to be free knows how much it costs.”Deborah Levy, The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography
Levy is a master of blending the personal with the universal. While vividly recounting her life experiences, the themes she touches on resonate – the struggle for autonomy, the tension between societal expectations and self-individuation and the price we pay for choosing a creative path.
Throughout the book, Levy pays homage to the work of Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir, Kierkegaard and others, adding layers of depth to her narrative and reminding us of the power of literature to inspire and shape our understanding of the world.
Dense with insight and emotion, Levy’s journey is a reminder that life is a constant negotiation between the expectations of others and who we truly are. Her journey affirms that embracing one’s authentic self is worth the perils.
This beautifully written and deeply reflective memoir is a must-read for anyone who appreciates introspective literature and the complexities of the human experience. It is also a testament to Levy’s talent as a writer and her ability to touch the hearts and minds of her readers.