Transit by Rachel Cusk

 

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The second in the loose trilogy that started with Outline, Cusk returns stronger than ever. After the dissolution of her marriage, Faye moves to London with her two young sons and is forced “to confront aspects of living she has, until now, avoided, and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to, and believe in, life.” (from Goodreads) It’s hard to give a more solid summary of the book as Cusk’s writing defies traditional description.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. THIS is what I’m talking about. Even better than Outline.

Cusk’s writing is instantly recognisable – beautiful, highly feminine, highly intellectual, detached but weirdly intimate. Although we’re never allowed into the inner world of the protagonist, there’s a wonderful interest and investment in other people’s stories. Just like in Outline, we get these intensely intimate moments between people who are essentially strangers. What should be mundane conversations (with exes, friends, even the builder) become philosophical meditations on life. This one will definitely require a re-read as I’m sure some of it went over my head without me even realising it. How much is biographical? Is Faye just a mouth-piece for Cusk? What’s up with all the fucked-up parent/child relationships?

Strange and unique, Transit is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but it sure is mine.

Here’s a little taste:

“I like it when you ask these questions… But I don’t understand why you want to know.” (page 227) 

I said I wasn’t so sure it mattered whether the audience knew who we were. It was good, in a way, to be reminded of the fundamental anonymity of the writing process, the fact that each reader came to your book a stranger who had to be persuaded to stay. (pg 114) 

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