From Rachel Cusk, her first collection of essays about motherhood, marriage, feminism, and art
Rachel Cusk redrew the boundaries of fiction with the Outline Trilogy, three “literary masterpieces” (The Washington Post) whose narrator, Faye, perceives the world with a glinting, unsparing intelligence while remaining opaque to the reader. Lauded for the precision of her prose and the quality of her insight, Cusk is a writer of uncommon brilliance. Now, in Coventry, she gathers a selection of her nonfiction writings that both offers new insights on the themes at the heart of her fiction and forges a startling critical voice on some of our most urgent personal, social, and artistic questions.
Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender, and politics, and on D. H. Lawrence, Françoise Sagan, and Kazuo Ishiguro. Named for an essay Cusk published in Granta (“Every so often, for offences actual or hypothetical, my mother and father stop speaking to me. There’s a funny phrase for this phenomenon in England: it’s called being sent to Coventry”), this collection is pure Cusk and essential reading for our age: fearless, unrepentantly erudite, and dazzling to behold.
Praise for Coventry
“[Cusk’s voice is] imbued with an authority that is all the more powerful because it is diffuse and flexible, aware of its limited perspective and willing to be measured against those of others . . . Cusk, like the best artists, has renovated her work from its deepest interior—the self—transforming her private crises into an expansive aesthetic vision.”
—Meaghan O’Gieblyn, The New York Times Book Review
“Cusk’s unsparing ability to see links between her own experience and broader literary and historical perspectives has always elevated her personal writing above mere memoir, and this collection cements her reputation as one of the most fierce and elegant chroniclers of how we live now.”
—Stephanie Merritt, The Guardian
Rachel Cusk is the author of Outline, Transit, Kudos; the memoirs A Life’s Work, The Last Supper, and Aftermath; and several other novels: Saving Agnes, winner of the Whitbread Award; The Temporary; The Country Life, which won the Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky Ones; In the Fold; Arlington Park; and The Bradshaw Variations. She was chosen as one of Granta’s 2003 Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in London.