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Transit
Cover of Transit
Transit
Outline Trilogy Series, Book 2

National Bestseller

  • A Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • A Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize
  • Longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award
  • One of Time Magazine's Top 10 Fiction Books of the Year

    A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

  • Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Guardian, BOMB Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Commonweal, Southern Living, NOW Magazine, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Book Depository, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post (Canada)

    The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline, one of The New York Times Book Review's ten best books of 2015

    In the wake of her family's collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of this upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, and practical—as she endeavors 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.

    In this second book of a precise, short, yet epic cycle, Cusk describes the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one's life, and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real.

  • National Bestseller

  • A Finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • A Finalist for the Goldsmiths Prize
  • Longlisted for the International DUBLIN Literary Award
  • One of Time Magazine's Top 10 Fiction Books of the Year

    A New York Times Book Review Notable Book

  • Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Guardian, BOMB Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Commonweal, Southern Living, NOW Magazine, The Washington Independent Review of Books, Book Depository, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post (Canada)

    The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline, one of The New York Times Book Review's ten best books of 2015

    In the wake of her family's collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of this upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, and practical—as she endeavors 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.

    In this second book of a precise, short, yet epic cycle, Cusk describes the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life. She captures with unsettling restraint and honesty the longing to both inhabit and flee one's life, and the wrenching ambivalence animating our desire to feel real.

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    Awards-
    About the Author-
    • Rachel Cusk is the author of two memoirs, A Life's Work and The Last Supper (FSG, 2009), and seven novels: Saving Agnes, winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award; The Temporary; The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky Ones; In the Fold; Arlington Park (FSG, 2007); The Bradshaw Variations (FSG, 2010); and Outline (FSG, 2015). She was chosen as one of Granta's 2003 Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in Brighton, England.
    Reviews-
    • Publisher's Weekly

      Starred review from October 24, 2016
      Cusk’s outstanding latest, the second in a trilogy, works as both a companion piece to the superb Outline and as an independent narrative, following Faye, a writer and teacher, who moves to London with her two young sons after a divorce. As in Outline, Faye’s arc is less about plotted action and is more a series of vignettes, focused this time on long conversations about the ways we journey through life. During these chats, her hairdresser reveals his confrontation with fear and being unwanted one New Year’s Eve, and an author, while speaking on a panel with Faye at a literary festival, talks about the fame he has received by revealing personal stories. A construction worker soundproofing her floors talks with Faye about architecture and broken families, and a potential student discusses her obsession with an obscure painter, and how her love for him sprung from the ashes of a failed attempted affair. As always, Cusk’s ear for language and dialogue is sharp; her characters speak about universal ideas, such as anxiety and lust. This marvelous novel continues the author’s vivid exploration of the human condition.

    • Kirkus

      October 15, 2016
      In the second installment of a planned trilogy, Cusk builds on the strengths of Outline (2015) and deepens them by giving her narrator a more human presence.Once again, Cusk's novel progresses through stories shared with the narrator by various people in her life; their arias of disconnection, fear, and loss swell toward a sorrowful climax that nonetheless contains both humor and hope. But this time, Faye (we actually learn her name, though it's only used once) is more inclined to respond with musings of her own, more willing to share her history and--at least elliptically--her emotions. Following a divorce, she's moved to London with her two sons, though the crummy state of the council flat she bought necessitates repairs that send the boys to live with their neglectful father for a bit. They make reproachful phone calls while she's appearing at a book festival and visiting a cousin in the countryside, reinforcing her feelings of powerlessness and drift. It's no accident that the book opens with an email from an astrologer; Faye sardonically notes that it's a computer-generated algorithm, but she pays nonetheless to get a reading about the "major transit...due to occur shortly in [her] sky." She's not the only one to feel in the grip of malevolent destiny. From the real estate agent who bemoans his clients' blindness to "the decree of fate" to the cousin who proclaims that "fate...is only truth in its natural state," Cusk's characters disclaim personal responsibility even as they upend their lives. Only Faye seems willing to face up to the consequences of her actions, which is perhaps why she is offered, however tentatively, a chance for new love. Brilliantly written and structured, which is nothing new from this superlatively gifted writer, but with a chastened empathy for human weakness that was absent from her last two novels. Its return is most welcome.

      COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    • Booklist

      Starred review from November 1, 2016
      In the wake of a divorce, a writer moves with her two young boys to London, where she begins the task of rebuilding an old house, along with her sense of self. We first met Cusk's protagonist at the beginning of her divorce process in the critically acclaimed Outline (2015), and as we come across her now, she is in transition, just beginning to navigate her new world, post-marriage. As in the first novel, our sense of her comes almost entirely through her meetings with othersold acquaintances, friends and family, business connections, and even verbally abusive neighbors. As she relates these encounters in detail, we gain a growing understanding of her feelings of loneliness and powerlessness in her mission to redefine life on her own terms. Through conversations about fate and morality, childhood traumas and joys, and failed and successful relationships, we observe her growing into and maybe even embracing her new reality. With the sparest prose, Cusk has again created an expertly crafted portrait in this distinctive novel about the fear and hope that accompany change, and one woman's quest to conquer them. A masterful second installment to a promising trilogy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

    • Library Journal

      August 1, 2016

      One of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003, Cusk has proved herself with a spate of award-winning novels; last year's Outline was a New York Times Book Review Best Book. This second in a trilogy begun with Outline features a writer who moves to London with her two young sons after her marriage skids to a halt. This "transit" forces her to confront issues she hasn't been facing, from personal responsibility to the possibility of renewal. Not unexpectedly, this meditation-cum-narrative is delivered in spare and coolheaded prose.

      Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • Library Journal

      September 1, 2016

      The second book in a projected trilogy (after Outline), this novel subtly explores the multiple definitions of "transit," as its characters are all in transition: moving their physical location, ending or beginning relationships, transforming their homes, or coming to terms with new phases of life. The only through-line that resembles a plot involves the (mostly) unnamed narrator, who has ended her marriage and returned to London after living away for 15 years. She buys a dilapidated flat and starts a major renovation project, over the objections of her extremely hostile neighbors. Otherwise, most of the chapters consist of the stories imparted to the narrator, a writer, by the various people she encounters, including an old flame, her hairdresser, her building contractors, writing students, and dinner party guests. VERDICT The narrator's apparent emotional distance makes her a sounding board for the other characters, who open up and share their lives and struggles. In a way, Cusk is unmasking one way that writers take life and turn it into fiction, and this experiment with the form and definition of the novel make this a recommended purchase where creative writing and contemporary literature collections are strong. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/16.]--Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis

      Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

    • Monica Ali, The New York Times Book Review

      "A work of stunning beauty, deep insight, and great originality . . . Transit is a slender novel that contains multitudes. It is a work of great ambition, beautifully executed, a worthy successor of the brilliant Outline."

    • Dwight Garner, The New York Times "Transfixing . . . A serious achievement . . . [Cusk's] writing offers the iron-rich pleasures of voice instead of style. Each sentence is drilled down, as with an auger . . . This writer never has to recover her aplomb because she never loses it."
    • Heller McAlpin, NPR "A reading journey you wish didn't have to end . . . Cusk gives us engrossing, probing conversations . . . Her prose is exquisitely precise . . . With its resonant comparisons between life and art (including literature) and its enjoyably varied, more tightly structured series of vignettes, Transit fills in the 'sketched-out form' Cusk introduced in Outline. Her narrator's ongoing odyssey toward finding her bearings in her new life is a journey worth following."
    • Emily Donaldson, The Toronto Star "Alienating yet intimate, dreamlike yet grounded, slim yet substantial, delicate but fierce, Cusk's writing feels, exhilaratingly, unlike any other fiction being written these days."
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    Outline Trilogy Series, Book 2
    Rachel Cusk
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