The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline , one of The New York Times Book Review s ten best books of 2015
In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions personal, moral, artistic, practical as she endeavors to construct a new reality for herself and her children.Read more...
The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline, one of The New York Times Book Review s ten best books of 2015
In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions personal, moral, artistic, practical as she endeavors to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city she is made 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.
Filtered through the impersonal gaze of its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed Outline, and offers up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility, and the mystery of change. In this precise, short, and yet epic cycle of novels, Cusk manages to describe the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life, through a narrative near-silence that draws language toward it. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one's life and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real."
- ISBN-13: 9780374278625
- ISBN-10: 0374278628
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 272
- Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Series: Outline Trilogy #1
The second installment in Rachel Cusk's literary trilogy
With Transit, the inspired British writer Rachel Cusk continues a trilogy of spare and elusive novels she began with Outline. The narrator of these books is a woman writer called Faye, a name that, appropriately, means confidence or trust—for these novels comprise a series of episodes wherein the narrator remains an aloof interlocutor, prompting thoughtful confessional stories from others while revealing little about herself.
The basic setup—divorced mother of two boys (Faye) moves back to London where she embarks on the renovations of a ramshackle house—provides a nominal structure, as well as two seemingly conflicting qualities: humor and a creeping fatalism. This relocation is just one meaning of the word “transit” explored, though, as the different characters she encounters speak of life changes both bold and banal. With a therapist’s remove, Faye draws out the stories—an old boyfriend left behind 15 years before, a gay hairdresser settling into middle age, a cousin who escaped a bad marriage and is now navigating the uncertain waters of a new one, a bestselling memoirist with a nightmare boyhood to expunge, the displaced Albanian and Polish men working on her flat. Taken individually, these confessionals are singularly entertaining, because Cusk is an unequaled observer of what takes place on the periphery, and she has a keen ear for hearing and recording the ways that people reveal themselves both through what they say and what they do not. Yet it is the cumulative effect of these narratives that gives this largely plot-free novel its power.
With literary sleight of hand, Cusk is playing narrative tricks, and Transit, like Outline before it, slowly reveals much about Faye, too, no matter how concealed she tries to remain. Transit is a brilliant meditation on change, freedom and the ways we construct our lives, one true or false narrative at a time.