To her it seemed extraordinary that the true beliefs should have to hide themselves. Cusk has written something fine and beautiful. Cusk is a great observer of the roles people—and especially women—play, studying not only the garbs they put on for tradition and ideology, but also how this action affects their understanding of themselves. It happens regularly in good marriages: the breaking and restitching. I book our summer holiday, the same holiday we always take, to a much-loved familiar place. It is deeply personal and honest and revealing, though again, not in typical or expected ways. She is the one who has to live with her prejudices and their consequences.
I saw a clear resemblance to the voice and themes of Outline and Transit - even to the extent of metaphors and images that appear in those books. Advertisement Cusk is a novelist of great renown in Britain, a winner of the Whitbread First Novel award and a finalist for other prestigious prizes. Will anyone be furious with Aftermath? This is amazing if we consider not only our access to divorce, but also the far higher hopes we have of marriage than, say, the Victorians did. All I know is that it is lost, gone. Cusk considers the kinds of generational knowledge the contemporary woman harbours, the terrors or expectations that have been passed down to her and that are refracted through the modern transformation of female status. She has a sense of formlessness, of inhabiting a dismantled jigsaw puzzle. Rachel Cusk does not dig deeply at all into the demise of her marriage nor her own causal pathologies which become painfully obvious to the reader but apparently not yet the writer as pages full of pseudo-intellectual text drone on with barely any emotional depth to be found.
Her first feminist act may have been to try to liberate her own housewife mother, and discover that rescue was neither wanted nor required. Have I been, as a mother, denied? Summer came, clanging days of glaring sunshine. Passages have been reprinted, quoted, and quarrelled over so much that it is now not just a memoir but a scandal. The children belong to me — this was not the kind of rudimentary phrase-making I generally went in for. Beauvoir had worried that even when liberated, a woman might somehow only be able to desire a man she felt was superior to her. She is not seeking approval.
I couldn't write at all in that period. Like motherhood, she observes, marriage comes with significant cultural acceptance. But he's a qualified lawyer, I said. Unfortunately, Cusk can't resist the latter. After all, divorce is all around us and after a recent fall, the rates have risen again.
There's also a rather odd last chapter, seen through the eyes of a hapless eastern European au pair living with a disintegrating family, which had me somewhat confused. Honesty, she says, is critical. What I feel is the hurtling approach of disaster. It was as though I had been brainwashed by a cult religion. Looking at the other families I feel our stigma: we are like a gypsy caravan parked up among the houses, itinerant, temporary. Our talk is a well that has been poisoned, but all the same I drink from it.
An astonishing 30,000 divorces were granted, most of them to women whom history had rarely given access to the courts before, let alone to equality within marriage and before the law. Beauvoir had worried that even when liberated, a woman might somehow only be able to desire a man she felt was superior to her. There are obvious legal reasons for Cusk's incomplete treatment of such issues, breach of privacy being one with which she is already familiar a threatened lawsuit against her 2009 memoir-lite, The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy , resulted in stocks having to be pulped a month after publication. Readers who admire the difficult discipline of self-scrutiny will find precision, beauty and a complicated truth in Cusk's narrative. After a while I say goodnight, and go and shut myself in my room. At a party in London I meet Z.
This is a pity, as confessional writing is meant to be about truth — the whole truth. They were two halves that made up a whole. The prurient will be disappointed, and the distressed, unenlightened. Once, a female friend confessed to me that she admired our life but couldn't have lived it herself. 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.
She does love her daughters; a reader questions whether, despite her accounts of trying to maintain normality, she loves them enough. The old war can be turned into words, but a living silence ought not to be disturbed. Instead, we have acres of poetic whimsy and vague literary blah, a needy, neurotic mandolin solo of reflections on child sacrifice and asides about drains. Cusk, admirably enough, is not afraid to take herself seriously. People stay out late calling and shouting, music pouring from open windows, cars honking in the dusk. Her descriptions are more vivid, the plots have somewhere to go.
Is it male attention I want, or male authority? Why couldn't he be compartmentalised, too? Yet like much in this smart book, that image is only a metaphor for something larger. But I did love Aftermath precisely for all those reasons. Overall Aftermath is a worthwhile read. If someone were to ask me what disaster this was that had befallen my life, I might ask if they wanted the story or the truth. This pdf ebook is one of digital edition of. Her analogies in this book are mostly to classical drama.
It was his story, and lately I have come to hate stories. Did I not think there was something awfully helpful about me, a woman, supporting my own family? She writes about marriage, separation, motherhood, work, money, domesticity and love. When the divorce solicitor tells her that Clarke is entitled to half her earnings, she is outraged. Cusk's focus is on the pain and grief that accompanies the deterioration of a marriage and a life built together, specifically when it involves children. What happens to it when you document something as subjective as the end of a relationship? The clocks have gone forward and now the evenings are long and as blank as paper.