Read Transit (Outline #2) by Rachel Cusk Online

Transit (Outline #2)

In the wake of her family's collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions - personal, moral, artistic, and practical - as she endeavours to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city, she is made to confront aspects of living that she has, until now, avoided, and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to, and believe in, life.Filtered through the impersonal gaze of its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed novel Outline, and offers up a penetrating and moving reflection on childhood and fate, the value of suffering, the moral problems of personal responsibility and the mystery of change.'Transit confirms that one of the most fascinating projects in contemporary fiction is unfolding in Rachel Cusk's trilogy.' Adam Foulds...

Title : Transit (Outline #2)
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ISBN : -
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 271 pages
Url Type : Home » Transit » Transit (Outline #2)

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Transit (Outline #2) Reviews

  • Holly

    I enjoyed this even more than Outline and could have read another 200 pages. There are subtle things happening here, and the character (Fern? Fran? I've forgotten her name because it is not emphasized) who was a cipher in Outline, who seemed an audience to others, is more present in this novel - but just barely. She speaks more, but even when she barely speaks a word these felt more like conversations than soliloquies. She's more able to hold her own or to offer opinions, but sometimes opts not

    He seemed somehow to be filled in. In those days he was a sketch, an outline; I had wanted him to be more than he was, without being able to see where the extra would come from. But time had given him density, like an artist filling in the sketched-out form.
    The conversations are like Russian dolls - embedded, speakers recounting other speakers, up to three times removed.

    I still found myself wondering how F gets people to open up so much, gets offered these wonderfully complete human responses. She offers some clues: she asks certain kinds of open questions, and then allows the interlocutor the time to answer. And she listens: "I had found out more, I said, by listening than I had ever thought possible." A beautifully illustrative scene takes place in a writing class in which a student is being badgered by another student to explain why something is worth writing about: What was it about this dog that was so interesting? You can't just tell me it's beautiful. You have to show that it is. ("My understudy urged him to describe the dog so that she might be able to see its beauty for herself.") ... In response the student stammers, looks uncertain: "Well," the man said doubtfully, "she's quite big. But she's not heavy, he added. He paused and shook his head. I can't describe it, he said. She's just beautiful. ..." Then F intervenes:
    I asked him what breed the dog was? [...] I asked him where he had got this dog?
    Those two simple open-ended questions elicit a long response that is vastly more interesting and TRUER than anything inspired by the commands to SHOW that the dog is beautiful.

    There is an especially good scene at a book festival where three memoir writers sit on stage talking about their work. One of the three is our quasi-Cusk character and another is a Knausgaard-like author. (I can't put my finger on the third. Anyone have an idea?) Guess which this is:
    His book had sold all over the world, [..] despite the fact that after the initial shock of appreciation people did little but complain about it, about the fact that nothing, as they saw it, ever happened in his writing, or at least nothing they recognised as fit to be written about.
    The scene plays on more than one level and slyly displays and comments on the current thinking on memoir writing today. It was fun to read.

    I enjoyed the recurring themes of adults who look and act like children; children who look and act like adults; windows, light, reflections, and seeing through windows to the inside scene (à la Glass Menagerie). There are also especially well-rendered descriptions of people.
    Amanda had a youthful appearance on which the patina of age was clumsily applied, as if, rather than growing older, she had merely been carelessly handled, like a crumpled photograph of a child.


    Some have observed that the characters/speakers always sound the same, all talk the same way, and that most people do not really speak this way/with this depth and thoughtfulness. Perhaps, but maybe it does not matter. Because in addition to hearing a variety of characters speak their lives we are very much within the listening Fern character - Outline and Transit are the unfolding story of this woman. ...more

  • Amanda

    4.5 stars

    I really love Rachel Cusk's detached yet voyeuristic way of telling a story. This is a terrific follow up to Outline. It follows the same protagonist, our writer Faye, as she tries to negotiate single life with her sons in London. She has to deal with ridiculous, impossible downstairs neighbors, builders and friends. I can't wait to read the third installment in this trilogy of sorts. These novels read a bit like memoir so I'm also interested in checking out Cusk's nonfiction work.

  • Jennifer

    while continuing in the style and ideas cusk created with Outline, a book that i appreciated but didn't love, i found transit offered more emotional depth. we still don't get a whole lot of focus on faye herself, but her interactions and conversations with those she encounters give us more glimpses into faye's life, as well as a some great insights to human nature and relationships. we are so messy and complicated.

  • Jimmy

    Sometimes when I come upon a book by chance and not through premeditated research, there is a sense of excitement, as when I read my first books and every book that followed had the potential to be great or a great failure or both. Maybe it's the danger of going outside of any known rubric for selection. Fate looms, as if each book was meant to be stumbled upon at its time and place rather than arrived at through well-manicured avenues.

    Whatever the case, it's lead me to great reads before. I onc
    ...more

  • Neil

    It seems that our narrator, Faye (named once in the book and once in the preceding part of the trilogy, Outline), is determined to do the "wrong" thing. In Outline, she set out for trips on a boat belonging to a complete stranger, something I’m sure her mother would have advised her against when she was younger. In Transit, she buys a house that is a complete wreck and starts to pour money into it to try to get it habitable (I was reminded at time of Lars Iyer’s Spurious trilogy and the wreck of ...more

  • Dan

    Marcel Proust said, near the end of his novel,

    "These [memories], on the contrary, instead of giving me a more flattering idea of myself, had almost caused me to doubt the reality, the existence of the self."

    Cusk's much much shorter novels are not as explicit about the search her character is living, but similar questions about things are happening somewhere inside her.

  • Gerhard

    The following comment from Rachel Cusk sums up this book for me: You read, you take the consequences.

  • Paul Fulcher

    "An astrologer emailed me to say she had important new for me concerning events in my immediate future. She could see things that I could not; my personal details had come into her possession and had allowed her to study the planets for their information. She wished me to know that a major transit was due to occur shortly in my sky. This information was causing her great excitement when she considered the changes it might represent. For a small fee she would share it with me and enable me to tur ...more