Review: The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy

How do you make a life after a life? This is the question at the centre of Deborah Levy’s second instalment in her “living memoir” three-book series. The first part, Things I Don’t Want to Know was Levy’s forties, The Cost of Living is her fifties, and the third, yet-to-be-published, book will be her sixties. It’s an ambitious project to document her middle ages, a period of time that is rarely documented in art if experienced by a woman.

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Review: Feel Free by Zadie Smith

After the success of her bestselling novel, Swing Time (published in November 2016), Zadie Smith is back with her second essay collection, Feel Free. Those who have read Smith’s earlier essay collection, Changing My Mind, or any of her many magazine and newspaper articles (many of which are reproduced here in Feel Free) will be familiar with what constitutes a Zadie Smith Essay. As the book’s title, and her earlier collection’s title, suggest, Smith’s essays are an exercise in intellectual freedom. The scope of Smith’s subject matter is swung wide open as she effortlessly moves from wrestling with the political fallout of Brexit to an interview with Jay Z, to examining black consciousness in Jordan Peele’s film, Get Out, to the symbolic ramifications a second bathroom has to the British middle-class, to meeting Justin Bieber.

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Review: A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey

Peter Carey is perhaps Australia’s most popular and accomplished author. A Long Way from Home is his fourteenth novel and is notable for being the first time Carey is explicitly addressing his cultural and national colonial inheritance. And in his own words, it’s about time: “You wake up in the morning and you are the beneficiary of a genocide […] I’m an Australian author and I haven’t written about this? Well, that just seems pathetic to me.”

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Review: Winter by Ali Smith

“God was dead: to begin with,” proclaims Ali Smith at the beginning of Winter, the second book in her seasonal quartet of novels. Alluding to the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, she provides a list of what else is dead: romance, chivalry, poetry, the novel, theatre, jazz, history, democracy, fascism, feminism, religion, the internet, death; all dead. 

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