Coventry: Essays

Rachel Cusk. . Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-12677-3
Memoirist and novelist Cusk (Kudos) turns her perceptive gaze and distinctive voice to a variety of topics in her arresting first essay collection. Broken into three sections, the volume takes its title from an English term for “the silent treatment,” which typified how Cusk’s parents disciplined her as a child. The opening chapters focus on memoir, but within the context of broader questions about society, families, women and work, and what makes a home. Cusk tackles, in addition to her fraught relationship with her parents, life after separating from her husband and with her daughters as they become teenagers (in the deliciously titled “Lions on Leashes”). In the second section, she examines art and its creation, in one piece grappling with “women’s writing” in terms of Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir (“Shakespeare’s Sisters”). The final section ventures into literary criticism with analyses of writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro, D.H. Lawrence, Olivia Manning, and Edith Wharton. There is an element of stream of consciousness to Cusk’s prose, with its effortless transitions from one idea to another. However, the overriding thread binding her essays is the uses of narrative, particularly for allowing people to make sense of their lives. It’s something Cusk interrogates exceptionally well throughout this well-crafted compilation. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/07/2019
Release date: 08/20/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4434-5869-6
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X