Sam Leith

After Birth

The Schemes for Full Employment

By

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RACHEL CUSK’S FOURTH novel follows a famdiar pattern in women novelists who have recently had a baby or two. It is about babies, and the changes they effect oi the lives of their parents. We are all guilty of this; where previous generations of new mothers preserved a silence about what exactly happens in the delivery room, and afterwards, our own sensations of shock, horror, delight, tenderness and love have been meticulously transcribed. Few have done ths as publicly, or as lopsidedly, as Cusk. Her A Work was a remarkably intelligent and provocative exploration of her resentment and depression at pregnancy and motherhood. As an account of the sheer rage many feel at their sudden powerlessness, it was brilliant, but many, myself included, felt it omitted almost all the positive, rewarding and wonderfd sides of having a child.

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