Posts tagged ‘Rachel Cusk’

August 21, 2017

Transit by Rachel Cusk

by Team Riverside

Hardback, Jonathan Cape, £16.99, out now

Transit CuskRachel Cusk returns with Transit, the paperback of which will be arriving next month. As a taster, here’s our review of this distinctive and multifaceted novel.

Centred around a series of domestic vignettes, Cusk’s latest follows a narrator who goes not just unnamed for the majority of the novel but unremarked upon, an incisive and mysterious ghost whose duties around a London she has returned to in the wake of a divorce lead her to encounter a cast of old flames and new neighbours. Coldly, detachedly, she questions and interrogates those she meets, leading them into confessions that hold a mirror up to her own apprehensions.

The narrator (and very possibly Cusk’s alter ego) is an intriguing proposition – the kind of peculiar operator who sees fit to ask her hairdresser whether he thinks freeing oneself causes someone else to become imprisoned. She speaks almost entirely in the kind of searching philosophical inquiries that seem at odds with the workaday scenarios she inhabits, putting existentialist queries to friends and acquaintances, handymen and (of course) hairdressers; but it’s through the prism of her idiosyncrasy that these encounters are ultimately lent powerful meaning.

Whether it’s the builder whose failing health may jeopardise his career and livelihood or the ex-partner who appears so unchanged in the decades since their breakup that he may even be wearing the same shirt, much human frailty, eccentricity and beauty is on display here, dug up from beneath the surface mundanity by our guide’s relentless examinations. And, of course, there is the narrator herself; whose chilly, once-removed demeanour may well be reflecting how alone the newly-divorced mother feels in a world of couples, cliques and happy families. It’s a really interesting work, with a great deal to say about the human condition and much in it that readers will recognise about themselves.

Review by Tom

 

 

 

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May 24, 2015

Top 10 Fiction and Non-Fiction: May 2015

by Team Riverside

HOW TO USE YOUR ENEMIES David Nicholls US
The Penguin Little Black Classics series is still going gangbusters here at the Riverside, although it’s the non-fiction titles that are the big sellers. The most popular of the 80 books is How to Use Your Enemies (no 12 in the series), a 17th century Spanish priest’s guide to exploiting your foes (and friends too). If you’re not minded to be Machiavellian, there’s plenty more literary inspiration among our bestsellers this spring…

Top 10 Fiction

1 Us – David Nicholls
2 The Bees – Laline Paull
3 The Children Act – Ian McEwan
4 How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran
5 A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson
6 The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair – Joel Dicker
7 Outline – Rachel Cusk
8 The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
9 Family Life – Akhil Sharma
10 The Ballad of a Small Player – Lawrence Osborne

Bubbling under: Wake Up, Sir! – Jonathan Ames

Top 10 Non-Fiction

1 Penguin Little Black Classics (80th anniversary)
2 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
3 H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
4 Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art – Julian Barnes
5 Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble – Antony Beevor
6 On Palestine – Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe
7 Flash Boys – Michael Lewis
8 The Year of Reading Dangerously – Andy Miller
9 A Buzz in the Meadow – Dave Goulson
10 The Establishment – Owen Jones

Bubbling under: On the Move: A Life – Oliver Sacks