I didn't know anything about Deborah Levy's life or books before reading her two living autobiographies Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living. They were recommended to me by my friend blogger Nana Wintour and I've also heard plenty of people recommending them on podcasts and on Twitter. So I jumped in!
The first one, Things I Don't Want to Know, is about Levy's childhood in South Africa before moving in exile to England at 9 years old. She explores her first encounters with writing and the meaning of words written down. It's also about her difficult upbringing with a dad in prison and having to live with her godmother's family. It is an incredibly fast read but your mind will keep reflecting on certain sentences and passages. However, I thought that for a memoir, I learned very little about herself and more about the environments that shaped her idea of self. It was interesting to see how she processed the move to London after having left her home. Which brings me on to the second volume, The Cost of Living.
I absolutely loved the second part of the living autobiography, although you don't have to read them in order or to read both. This one explores the life after her divorce and her mother's death when she tries to create a new home for herself and her daughters. It's about the struggles of working to support your family, the relationships you create along the way, and her writing process. In the story, the shed behind her friend's home becomes her new sanctuary for writing and it's interesting to see how she adapts to it through the seasons. She is the perfect example of resilience. This one was my favourite, so I recommend you pick up a copy if you want a book that will capture your attention all the way 'til the end!
Both books are ultimately about the idea of creating a home for oneself and the people around us, which I think is relevant for so many people: a student moving in its first apartment, a couple moving together, someone moving abroad, etc. You will absolutely adore it