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Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation [Paperback]

Rachel Cusk
1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 5.32 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Feb 2013

In the winter of 2009, Rachel Cusk's marriage of ten years came to an end. In the months that followed, life as she had known it came apart, "like a jigsaw dismantled into a heap of broken-edged pieces".

Aftermath chronicles this perilous journey as the author redefines herself as a single woman and creates a new version of family life for her daughters. She discovers previously unknown strengths and freedoms but also finds herself suddenly vulnerable to outsiders, unwelcome advice, social displacement and the absence of a clear authority. The pressure to reconstruct a 'normal' life for her daughters competes with the sense that nothing feels normal at all.

Aftermathis a masterly work in which the author, at her most candid and rigorous, charts the largely unwritten journey back to order from the chaos that is left when a family breaks apart.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (7 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571277667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571277667
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,624 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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1.0 out of 5 stars Messy and Dull 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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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unsex me here. Feminist role model from hell 6 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
[Relates to the excerpt in Granta #115 - but it's a short book!]

Misery memoir? Self-help? Rant? Or a tangled web of self-justification? Whatever, this is messy. I thought Cusk had fearsome intellectual cred (Ruskin's brainy younger sister, as apparently one critic improbably - and fatuously - put it, or at least the Drabble de nos jours) yet on the third page of the excerpt in the Granta F-word issue one finds 'diffusity' - wha'? - and a little later 'scatteration'. Is this the sound of a woman trying too hard or not trying hard enough? Scattiness aside, her writing has a distinctly Beauvoirian density. I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing; all I know is it's the kind of thing that, if you were reading it in translation, you'd be impressed with because you'd think the meaning would be clearer in the original

[Full disclosure: to my shame I read both Second Sex and Dutiful Daughter* (neat translation, that) in English; while hanging devotedly on every word, I found the latter in particular quite heavy going, yet never considered that the French might possibly be less, um.. forbidding? clotted? rebarbative?? (very Beauvoirian word). In my (feeble) defense, they are both very *big* books - yet Proust in the original holds no fears for me, in fact if you can tackle it, like Chaucer (or Shakespeare, say, if you have the misfortune to be French) it's simply a no-brainer

* on the significance of which, see the, sadly, late Jill Forbes in the THES, but you'll need to google memoir(e)s; I found her piece just as touching and telling as the original - and considerably briefer!]

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