Transit

Rachel Cusk

Rachel Cusk’s previous novel Outline was an unexpected pleasure, so it was also a nice surprise to find out the book was the first in a trilogy — Transit is the second installment. This book follows a similar structure, where each chapter is centered around a conversation between Faye, the heart of the story, and people she meets. Whereas in the last book, she was traveling and the conversations were focused more on the other people, this one has her at home, albeit a new home after divorcing her husband. (A home that needs to be renovated extensively, while the tenants in the downstairs flat protest at even moderate sound.)

In some ways perhaps I love this book less than Outline, whether because I had greater expectations or its less well-honed, or perhaps as the title refers, it’s the transition between two things, with the finale still to come. But there are many remarkable moments. In one chapter, Faye meets with a friend who is in her first relationship after some time and speaks of her prior lonely feelings:

…the story of loneliness of much longer than the story of a life. In the sense of what most people mean by living … without children or partner, without meaningful family or a home, a day can last an eternity: a life without those things is a life without a story, a life in which there is nothing — no narrative flights, no plot developments, no immersive human dramas — to alleviate the cruelly meticulous passing of time.

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