A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother

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9781841154879: A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother

"Mothers are the countries we come from: sometimes when I hold my daughter I try to apprehend this belonging for her, to feel myself as solid and fixed, to capture my smell and shape and atmosphere. I try to flesh out her native landscape. I try to imagine what it would be like to have me as a mother". 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 this work, novelist Rachel Cusk attempts to tell something of this story, an old story set in a new era of sexual equality. When we no longer know what it is to be a woman, what is it to be a mother? When our expectations are so complex, what can we make of the simple lowliness of caring for a small child? Cusk's story 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.

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About the Author:

Rachel Cusk is the author of three novels: SAVING AGNES, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award, THE TEMPORARY, and THE COUNTRY LIFE, which won a Somerset Maugham Award. This is her first work of non-fiction.

Review:

'As compulsive as a thriller. No mother could fail to be interested and moved.' Kate Kellaway, Observer 'An incitement to riot. I laughed out loud, often, in painful recognition.' Esther Freud 'Full of enormous insight and sly wit. Cusk has crafted a work of beauty and wisdom. And belly laughs.' Suzanne Moore, New Statesman 'A deeply fascinating read, a nakedly honest, witty and eloquent exploration of the world of mother and child, where each of us began.' Helen Dunmore 'A breath of fresh air. It took me back to raw emotions since edited from my official history. If I were still in the midst of it I expect I would seize on the book in the same frame of mind as Noah did his ark.' Maureen Freely, Independent 'She observes her own sensations and transfers them, still bleeding, to the page where some alchemy of her prose renders this most fascinating and boring of all subjects graceful, eloquent, modest and true.' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph 'I read it in one sitting, completely mesmerized. Every line rang true. A stunning achievement.' Madeleine Wickham 'Mothers are usually compelled to say, "I love my children but". It is the "but" that Cusk bravely stresses. A Life's Work is about how tough and tender motherhood is.' Deborah Levy, Independent

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Cusk, Rachel
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Cusk, Rachel
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ISBN 10: 1841154873 ISBN 13: 9781841154879
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