Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 246

Rachel Cusk was born in Canada in 1967 to British parents, who moved the family to Los Angeles, then to England, where Cusk lives to this day. She began publishing in her midtwenties—clever and assured novels featuring men and women attempting, with little success, to manage their anchorless lives in a bewildering, loveless world. Then, after having two daughters in quick succession, she began writing essayistically about her life. Her memoir A Life’s Work (2001) dealt directly with the existential, social, and intellectual struggles of early motherhood. The book received praise for its honesty and intelligence, and also assault for its perceived solipsism and negativity.
A Life’s Work seemed to announce a new beginning for Cusk as an artist, yet it would be almost a decade before she returned to the memoir form; instead, four more novels followed.
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