Author: Rachel Cusk
Published: 29th September 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
Summary: In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, practical—as she endeavors to construct a new reality. In the city she is made to confront aspects of living she has avoided, and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to, and believe in, life.
*I recieved a free eARC of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This is adult-fiction novel by Rachel Cusk which is told through the eyes of the main character Faye, who the readers know very little about. This is technically the second book in a trilogy. However it’s not necessary to read the first book before reading this one, although it does provide some background knowledge. I don’t usually read adult novels so I was a bit apprehensive of this book at first. But, as I progressed through the story I found myself enjoying it more.
Like I mentioned, Faye is a character the readers know very little about, apart from the fact that she’s a writer who has recently moved to London. It’s to the point where her name is only mentioned once over the course of the story and we know next to nothing about her appearance. The main focus of this novel is on the people around Faye, her friends and colleagues and how her relationships with them shape her.
We discover lots about various characters in her life, who we might ordinarily overlook, such as her disruptive neighbours, her builder and an old friend. This provides an interesting and insightful perspective of the lives of others. Many of the conversations she shares with others relate back to Faye’s own situations and are used to reflect on her own life.
“Whatever we might wish to believe about ourselves, we are only the result of how others have treated us.”
Unfortunately, this book is slow. Even after reading it, I’m still unsure as to where it was going. Yes, Faye has some thought-provoking conversations with many people but I don’t know the purpose or the consequences of this. There wasn’t much plot, with little going on before it came to an unimpressive end. This results in this being a strange and anticlimactic novel.
Rachel Cusk adopts a very detached writing style in this novel, which I initially struggled to get into. It’s cold and to the point, which I’m not used to. This is a unique feature of this novel and is both it’s biggest strength and greatest weakness. It highlights how emotionally detached our main character is from many aspects of her life but it also pushes the reader away, making it difficult to feel any sort of connection to her character.
Overall, I have mixed opinions about this story. It is a book that opens your eyes and makes you consider the lives of others, as well as yourself. But it has a slow plot with very little direction, which makes it difficult to lose yourself in the story.