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Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation Paperback – 7 Feb 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571277667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571277667
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for "Aftermath ""[I] admire Cusk . . . for the gravity and ruthlessness of her self-examination. Much that is written these days about what are regretfully called 'relationships' feels overly processed, with emotions filtered bloodlessly through irony, or diverted into easy sentimentality. Cusk's book, on the other hand, is emotionally raw and deeply uncomfortable-making, while also being finely turned as a literary artifact. (Cusk can nail a simile like Gabby Douglas can execute a backflip). Cusk, admirably enough, is not afraid to take herself seriously." --Rebecca Mead, "The New Yorker ""[A] brilliant new memoir . . . As slim and revealing as a microscope slide."--Lisa Shea, "Elle ""Compelling . . . Affecting . . . [A] bravely unsympathetic memoir of marital dissolution . . . A restlessly erudite portrait of post-marital strife. The book's satisfactions lie in its cold-eyed probing of the "aftermath," which, as she tells us, is a second sowing after the initial harvest. And in its vivid use of image and metaphor . . . This book is a solace to anybody who has dwelt in post-familial wastes." --Liza Mundy, "San Francisco Chronicle ""Thrilling . . . There are riches buried like gold in the bitter picture she describes . . . An enormously talented writer." --Nan Goldberg, "The Boston Globe ""Striking . . . Startling . . . Unflinching . . . Bold, gripping, original and occasionally darkly funny." --"Kirkus Reviews "(starred review) "I read "A Life's Work" shortly after I, too, had had a child, and doing so was like finally letting go of a breath I had held for a year. Ostentatiously smart, fearless, the author displayed what almost seemed a compulsion to yank the threads of that impossibly pretty doily tatted by convention around motherhood . . . Her memoir of divorce displays the same ferocity of intellect, humor, and occasional bad mood . . . It is a testament to Cusk's talent that she was able to make something ofh

Book Description

Written in the months after Rachel Cusk's divorce, Aftermath is a masterly work charting the largely unwritten journey back to order from the chaos that is left when a family breaks apart.

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. E. S. Singleton on 25 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rachel Cusk is a good writer. However, I am afraid I was disappointed by this book which I finished today. As someone divorced with children I had hoped to read the insights one finds in her meatier earlier Life's Work - on Becoming a Mother. I was disappointed.

First it is far too short. It did not feel like value for money.

Secondly it felt rushed as if she needed the money (due to the divorce), did not have much time as she was wasting money and time she did not have on pointless therapy and so had thrown together some random musings interspersed with a lot of Greek myth tales which did not then hang well together. None of the details one might really want about the whys and wherefores of her divorce were there presumably on grounds of privacy.

All those who want fairness for men and women would be deeply unhappy with a woman who has had a relationship where a father is fully engaged as a carer of the children and is them somehow to be supplanted, simply because there is a divorce or even if not supplanted that a fair division is resented. We need to think about how we can give, not what we can take in life and that giving might involve letting our children have less of us. We all accept when we earn more than our men that that means we pay out to them on divorce (many many of us have done it) and that a maintenance of the status quo as regards relationships with the children follows in consequence and we celebrate that (although Ms Cusk appears not to do so).

One also is depressingly reminded that the career of a writer in effect means not much money and the consequences of that.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dr A Cole on 28 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book should never have been published, or should have been edited ruthlessly. It read like a first draft rather than a carefully crafted book. It belongs in the realms of private diary entries, trying to make sense of an unhappy life experience. It is banal, self-justifying and sketchy. It never transcends the personal to have a more universal meaning. I found it disappointing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Aubin on 29 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
Because "wonderful" it is not.In fact I read the book without reading the reviews on these pages, having bought it on the strength of it's review in the Telegraph.The writing itself is sometimes good - but nowhere great ( I hadn't yet read anything else by this author, and now probably won't) however the execution is quite simply atrocious. The last part is completely detached from the rest of the story - though it certainly lets you know more about the author that she may have wished.I understand that it is sometimes necessary for a writer ( or anyone for that matter ) to consign thoughts to paper in order to make sense of them , but to publish this egocentric drivel ? How did this get past her editor ? - I can only think that the $$$ signs were there.Do yourself a favour and read something else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia Brown on 16 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback
Rachel Cusk's publishers did her no favours, accepting this book in this form. Nothing should be more interesting than the collapse of someone else's love and hopes, but this book is a mess. And boring to boot. I got the feeling that she had stuffed a lot of the mythological stuff in simply to increase the word count. (It certainly doesn't illuminate anything she's telling us about her own situation.) And she will not thank her readers for knowing what we now do about her when she finally realises how poorly she comes out of the account. At least her husband and children should benefit - from the readers' sympathy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By j hewson on 29 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
I found this book gripping and whereas I usually read quickly, here I found myself wanting to slow down so as not to miss anything. There are insights in every other sentence. I liked the use of metaphor and imagery. For me it elucidated and elaborated what Cusk was saying about marriage as an institution, her own experience of marriage and it's dissolution. Certainly, Cusk's ideas resonated with me though some people may find them threatening/offensive. The book is densely written and if a simple unadorned account of a marriage breakup is what you are looking for, this book may not be for you.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Nomenclature on 25 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Loquacious, banal and immature, this memoir reveals it's author as surprisingly lacking in awareness and empathy. Whilst there are some nicely turned phrases this book needs a serious edit to remove the dreadful meandering expanse of her pseudo intellectual posturing. This text contributes little to debates on divorce and feminisim, in fact it's really rather astonishing to read the middle-aged author's tardy and tedious feminist revelations - revelations that would, I venture, strike most women, most adults as the indulged musings of a spoilt little girl.

Read this if you enjoy your domestic dramas served dry with a large helping of self-obsessed passive-aggression. I just wish I could have my time and money back...
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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 April 2015
Format: Paperback
For many of us who have been through marriage, children and divorce, this book will resonate. It is one of the most lyrical books to read about the subject. It will bring you back to the time you knew your marriage isn't working, you try harder, but no, both of us are not trying at the same intensity.

Rachel Cusk's book is a small book, easy to read, but filled with such words to ponder. I have heard her first book is exceptional, and I need to read it, soon. Rachel Cusk has a way with words, for such a small book, it is filled with magnificent imagery. The only critique us that I could not find the reason for her separation and divorce. I needed to understand what occurred that made her husband look at her with hate. Her two young daughters were as always the recipients of the muddle a divorce makes. Shuttled between parents, Rusk found them grieving in their own way.

I found Rusk's sharing her concept of what divorce was for her, helpful. A little simple at times, but the feelings are there. She found herself talking with a new friend a little differently than she did with her husband.,she was not as comfortable in this pose, but she recognized it. I think Rusk excels at writing, and I am quite interested in reading her first book, and the new book that came out in January.

Recommended. prisrob 04-17-15
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