Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation by Rachel Cusk - review by Joan Smith

Joan Smith

Divorced from Reality

Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation


Faber & Faber 153pp £12.99

I’m going to start this review with an admission: I have next to no idea what this book is about. Not in a literal sense, obviously; there is a writer called Rachel Cusk, who used to be married and now isn’t, and she seems quite cross about it. On second thoughts, cross isn’t the right word for the cosmic anguish that suffuses her book, expressing itself in observations about bleak weather and quotes about Oedipus (the plays, not the complex, I think).

It isn’t a direct account of the breakdown of Cusk’s marriage, which will come as a relief or a disappointment, depending on taste. There is a strange final chapter, entitled ‘Trains’, that offers a glimpse of the fracturing household from the point of view of the couple’s au pair. But

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