'An incitement to riot . . . It's an extraordinary piece of work and the writing is utterly beautiful . . . I laughed out loud, often, in painful recognition.' Esther Freud
'As compulsive as a thriller.' Kate Kellaway, Observer
'Thank god for Rachel Cusk's beautifully written and compelling memoir.' Claire Messud, Guardian Books of the Year
'Cusk is not afraid to address frankly the grief for freedom lost, the despair, pain, boredom and guilt - all in the context of the mother's unspeakable love for the baby . . . Perhaps the most beautifully written and moving book on the subject.' Stephanie Merritt, Observer
A Life's Work is Rachel Cusk's funny, moving, brutally honest account of her early experiences of motherhood. An education in babies, books, breast-feeding, toddler groups, broken nights, bad advice and never being alone, it is a landmark work, which has provoked acclaim and outrage in equal measure.
Taking an unsentimental approach to one of the most dramatic changes in a woman's life, British novelist Cusk (The Country Life) dissects the process of new motherhood from a psychological and emotional perspective. Now the mother of two, Cusk found the early weeks and months with a dependent newborn far from idyllic and rewarding, and her description of that time fills in the gaps left by most pregnancy and child-rearing books. Her dry, honest style is a refreshing change for anyone seeking to understand the daily realities of undertaking such an enormous responsibility. Despite a tone that is at times bleak and foreboding, Cusk perfectly captures the inherent conflict between the pleasures known before baby and those that the baby brings, noting, for example, "it is when the baby sleeps that I liaise, as if it were a lover, with my former life," but "sometimes I miss the baby and lie beside her cot while she sleeps." Cusk details her struggles with the major tasks all new mothers face, like feeding and sleep, and she addresses the challenge not only to do what is best for the baby, but also to maintain a sense of self and autonomy in the face of such constant, overwhelming need. Although not a cheerful baby shower gift book, Cusk's brutal honesty will certainly be appreciated by many new moms, assuring them they are not alone.
Wise and honest. Extraordinary.
A work of incisive genius. Finally someone, a mother/ woman/ human tells it like it is. Child rearing - warts and all. Please give to your daughters, nieces, sisters etc.