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A Life's Work [Paperback]

Rachel Cusk
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Mar 2008
When first published in 2001, it divided female critics and readers. One famous columnist wrote a piece demanding that Cusk's children were taken into care, that was she was unfit to look after them. Oprah Winfrey invited her on the show to defend herself and the book as protests grew about the its honest, gritty account of the misery of those early months. It is a seminal, stand-out book on the complications of being an ambivalent mum in an age of white-washed, Annabel Karmel'd new families.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571238491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571238491
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Deeply fascinating... nakedly honest, witty and eloquent.' Helen Dunmore"

Book Description

Rachel Cusk's controversial, funny and moving account of her first few years of motherhood.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, brave writing - honest, real and true 26 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book threw me a life-line when I was suffering with post-natal depression. It was the first and only true voice I heard about what it felt like to be a mother. I read much of it in tears - of relief that someone else had felt like that and gratitude that she had written about it. There's so much mythology and so many lies about motherhood, so much posturing - the honesty of this beautifully written memoir cuts through all that and meant a great deal to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy duty and not everyone's experience! 16 Aug 2013
My dad bought me this at the Edinburgh book festival (how nice!) and I only finished it because it was a gift. She has been very honest about her own (dreadful) experience but this is so far removed from my own feelings about my 15 month old's early days that I couldn't relate to it all. Sadly I think there must have been a level of PND, she was very isolated and then, I felt, snobbish when she did seek company. I'm glad I didn't read when I was pregnant. I can see it appealing to other mums who had a bleak time initially, but I didn't enjoy it, it reads more like an essay or dissertation than a novel and I was glad to finish it. Sorry Dad, thanks for the thought!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars motherhood 29 Mar 2008
By Robyn
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I eagerly awaited the arrival of this book, having heard of Cusk's work - and the resultant criticisms. I was hoping for a voice which I could relate to as a mum, and the ambivalence of my feelings towards motherhood.

This book made me laugh, not only out loud, but with tears rolling down my face. I got my identification. I would especially recommend it for a mum to be, or someone with little kids/babies - if they can find the time to read it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for essay 24 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this as I was writing an assignment on attachment theory. The book was well written and interesting in terms of describing infant development and the impact of initial relationships as seen in this book from the mother's perspective. Even if you weren't writing an essay would probably still find it a useful read as it highlights how bewildering having a baby can be!
Condition of book was good and arrived promptly.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! 18 Jun 2008
As a new mother I didn't have time to read anything in the early months of my son's life, but my husband bought me this book for Mother's Day and from the first page I couldn't stop reading. I had no idea there was any controversy over the book until reading the description just now on Amazon. I thought it was one of the most literary and beautifully real expressions of how, at least I, was feeling in those first months as a first-time mother. Reading this book was like talking to a good friend. I am also glad to have discovered such a wonderful writer and look forward to reading more of her books now that I have more time.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 28 May 2008
I read loads of books when coming to terms with the life changing event of having my first child. This was definitely the best and the only one to capture the deep, complex and conflicting emotions of this journey. And be bloody funny too. Excellent.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you thank you thank you 30 Dec 2011
By Ocelot
I only got round to reading this close to my son's second birthday because he was so poorly and slept badly until he was around a year old and then pretty patchily after that. I wish I had been able to read it during that first year because I also felt so guilty that I was far from feeling 'blissed out'. Thanks for speaking out so honestly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about to order this book
The bad review didnt put me off buying this book, and i tell the only reason why i even looked it up. We bought and read: Marcus Berkman - Faterhood The Truth... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mrs A.G.
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I must admit I did not expect to like a book about motherhood, especially one which is a kind of long self-absorbed complaint about being a mother. Read more
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by kynz
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely appalling, insane rants on motherhood
I started the book yesterday and today I have decided to light our BBQ with it. It is not worth the paper it's printed on. Read more
Published on 28 July 2011 by ticos
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest account of motherhood
This is a beautifully written account of the question of identity and motherhood. Cusk brings to life so many of my experiences, from the puzzling breastfeeding advice centres at... Read more
Published on 7 July 2011 by I. McMahon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, should be required reading for all women.
As someone who doesn't have any children, I am curious as to what motherhood is all about. Is it really as fantastic as those gushing mothers proclaim? Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2011 by Jessica Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars The Baby Whisperer
I read Rachel Cusk when I was 10 weeks pregnant. I didn't believe her until my son was born. This book is the only childcare manual you'll need. Read more
Published on 13 July 2009 by Dr. Z. C. Goodman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
One of the most moving, profound and hilarious books on motherhood (or, indeed, on any subject) that I've read. Read more
Published on 10 May 2008 by E. Coulter
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