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National Bestseller • A Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize • A Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize • Longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award • One of Time Magazine's Top 10 Fiction Books of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book • Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Guardian, BOMB Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Commonweal, Southern Living, NOW Magazine, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Book Depository, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post (Canada)
The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline, one of The New York Times Book Review’s ten best books of 2015
In the wake of her family’s collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of this upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, and practical—as she endeavors to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city, she is made to confront aspects of living that she has, until now, 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.
Filtered through the impersonal gaze of its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed novel Outline and offers up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility, and the mystery of change.
In this second book of a precise, short, yet epic cycle, Cusk describes the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one’s life, and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We first discovered Rachel Cusk after picking up 2015’s brilliant Outline, a loose prequel to Transit. Cusk has an astonishing talent for writing about the minor conflicts and dramas that happen in life’s margins, rumbling like the precursors to an earthquake. Her story revolves around a brainy, analytical writer in the midst of a divorce and a traumatic renovation project. A precise, observant first-person narrator, she provides us a porthole into her life through her interactions and conversations with friends, family, and strangers. But Cusk’s heroine remains a mystery…just like pretty much every other human being we’ve met.
Cusk's outstanding latest, the second in a trilogy, works as both a companion piece to the superb Outline and as an independent narrative, following Faye, a writer and teacher, who moves to London with her two young sons after a divorce. As in Outline, Faye's arc is less about plotted action and is more a series of vignettes, focused this time on long conversations about the ways we journey through life. During these chats, her hairdresser reveals his confrontation with fear and being unwanted one New Year's Eve, and an author, while speaking on a panel with Faye at a literary festival, talks about the fame he has received by revealing personal stories. A construction worker soundproofing her floors talks with Faye about architecture and broken families, and a potential student discusses her obsession with an obscure painter, and how her love for him sprung from the ashes of a failed attempted affair. As always, Cusk's ear for language and dialogue is sharp; her characters speak about universal ideas, such as anxiety and lust. This marvelous novel continues the author's vivid exploration of the human condition.