A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk
On Becoming a Mother

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Synopsis

The experience of motherhood is an experience in contradiction. It is commonplace and it is impossible to imagine. It is prosaic and it is mysterious. It is at once banal, bizarre, compelling, tedious, comic, and catastrophic. To become a mother is to become the chief actor in a drama of human existence to which no one turns up. It is the process by which an ordinary life is transformed unseen into a story of strange and powerful passions, of love and servitude, of confinement and compassion.

In a book that is touching, hilarious, provocative, and profoundly insightful, novelist Rachel Cusk attempts to tell something of an old story set in a new era of sexual equality. Cusk’s account of a year of modern motherhood becomes many stories: a farewell to freedom, sleep, and time; a lesson in humility and hard work; a journey to the roots of love; a meditation on madness and mortality; and most of all a sentimental education in babies, books, toddler groups, bad advice, crying, breastfeeding, and never being alone.
 

About Rachel Cusk

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Rachel Cusk is the author of the acclaimed novels The Country Life and Saving Agnes. She lives in England.
 
Published April 6, 2002 by Picador. 224 pages
Genres: Parenting & Relationships, Biographies & Memoirs, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In a chapter titled “Don’t Forget to Scream,” she describes moving to a small university town where her infant launches into an adventurous toddlerhood and she into a life surrounded by other mothers enlisted into “self-abnegation.” Invoking Proust on the glories of sleep, she nevertheless wonder...

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Publishers Weekly

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Taking an unsentimental approach to one of the most dramatic changes in a woman's life, British novelist Cusk (The Country Life) dissects the process of new m

Mar 25 2002 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

The Guardian

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A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother Rachel Cusk Fourth Estate £12.99 Misconceptions: Truth, Lies and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood Naomi Wolf Chatto £12.99 Both Rachel Cusk and Naomi Wolf have written books of great complaint that critics and reviewers have been quick ...

Sep 22 2001 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

The Guardian

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"Her" is her child.) This is the bad fairy hovering behind every stressed-out mum, and it is brave of Cusk to confess its proximity to her own condition.

Jul 06 2002 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

The Guardian

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A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother Rachel Cusk Fourth Estate £12.99, pp224 'You'd think she was the first person in the world to have a baby,' I once heard a mother say of another.

Sep 09 2001 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

Publishers Weekly

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Cusk's hyperbolic descriptions of these and the many other calamities in Stella's everyday life demonstrate that her desire to ""exist in a state of no complexity whatever"" will prove to be impossible, especially since her surly charge, Martin, is, in her early estimation, an ""evil dwarf."" Cus...

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BC Books

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Last year I read Arlington Park and discovered a writer new to me - Rachel Cusk.

May 13 2009 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

Suite 101

Will is a loner and happy to be so but even he cannot fail to be touched and affected when weird kid, Marcus enters his life.

Dec 10 2009 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

PopMatters

As Clarke has opted to remain silent on the subject, readers may never know what caused the Cusk /Clarke marriage to explode.

Sep 25 2012 | Read Full Review of A Life's Work: On Becoming a ...

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