Sunday 30 October 2016


Finished October 30
Transit by Rachel Cusk

This new novel by Cusk has an unnamed woman as its first person narrator. She is divorced from her husband and has recently sold her home in the countryside and moved to London. She has bought a former council house in a good neighbourhood, but in bad shape and part of the book deals with her issues with her renovations and her downstairs neighbours. The neighbours downstairs are an older couple, one of the last of the council housing recipients on the street.
Their intolerance for everything she does mixed with their inability to recognize their own annoying behaviours and the effects of those behaviours on her or others is an interesting plot line through many chapters.
The narrator has two sons, ages eleven and thirteen, and, now that they are in London, they are close enough to the boys' father to spend some time with him. Despite his role in her life, he is almost not even present in the book, and the boys only marginally, as reported conversations and at the other end of a telephone call.
The narrator is a writer, with additional income from teaching and speaking engagements. She is a woman interested in people, watching them, asking them questions about their lives, their thoughts, their motivations. That doesn't mean that she doesn't share information sometimes as well, but less so than many of the people that she interacts with.
The chapters each are a vignette, an episode of her life in detail. Conversations and actions are shown vividly and in a factual way, but also, somehow, with an underlying awareness. I enjoyed this book thoroughly, taking a chapter at a time and thinking about it before picking up the novel and continuing.

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