**FINALIST for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; FINALIST for the Goldsmiths Prize; a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year; A New York Times Notable Book of the Year**
“A work of stunning beauty, deep insight and great originality.” —The New York Times
“Brave and uncompromising. . . . A work of cut-glass brilliance.” —Financial Times
“Cusk’s writing feels, exhilaratingly, unlike any other fiction being written.” —Toronto Star
Internationally acclaimed author and Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Rachel Cusk returns with Transit, a powerful novel that captures a woman’s experience with the fear and hope that accompany unavoidable change.
Faye has moved to London with her two young sons in the wake of family collapse. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, 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 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 the keenly intelligent Faye, Transit sees Rachel Cusk offer 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 precise yet epic novel, Cusk manages to describe the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life, through a narrative near-silence that draws language toward it. 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.
“An extraordinary piece of writing—stunningly bold, original and humane.” —The Daily Telegraph
About the author
Rachel Cusk is the author of nine novels, three non-fiction works, a play, and numerous shorter essays and memoirs. Her first novel, Saving Agnes, was published in 1993. Her most recent novel, Kudos, the final part of the Outline trilogy, will be published in the US and the UK in May 2018.
Saving Agnes won the Whitbread First Novel Award, The Country Life won the Somerset Maugham Award and subsequent books have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Whitbread Prize, Goldsmiths Prize, Bailey’s Prize, and the Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award in Canada. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. Her version of Euripides’ Medea was directed by Rupert Goold and was shortlisted for the Susan Blackburn Smith Award.
Rachel was born in Canada in 1967 and spent her early childhood in Los Angeles before moving to the UK in 1974. She studied English at Oxford and published her first novel Saving Agnes when she was twenty six, and its themes of femininity and social satire remained central to her work over the next decade. In responding to the formal problems of the novel representing female experience she began to work additionally in non-fiction. Her autobiographical accounts of motherhood and divorce (A Life’s Work and Aftermath) were groundbreaking and controversial.
Most recently, after a long period of consideration, she attempted to evolve a new form, one that could represent personal experience while avoiding the politics of subjectivity and literalism and remaining free from narrative convention. That project became a trilogy (Outline, Transit and Kudos). Outline was one of The New York Times’ top 5 novels in 2015. Judith Thurman’s 2017 profile of Rachel in The New Yorker comments “Many experimental writers have rejected the mechanics of storytelling, but Cusk has found a way to do so without sacrificing its tension. Where the action meanders, language takes up the slack. Her sentences hum with intelligence, like a neural pathway.”
“Beautiful.” — Toronto Star
“Cusk is a master of sparse, exquisite prose. . . . [Outline] successfully conveys all of her admirable honesty in the safe harbour of fiction, and somehow delivers more human truths than most memoirs ever could.” — The Globe and Mail
“A stellar accomplishment.” — The Guardian
“Quietly radical. . . . Ingenious.” — Vogue
“One of the most daringly original and entertaining pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.” — The Observer
“Mesmerizing.” — The New Yorker
“Brave and uncompromising in its literary ambition, Transit is a work of cut-glass brilliance that quietly insists on the reader’s thoughtful attention. One beautifully crafted sentence follows another.” — Rebecca Abrams, The Financial Times
“[Transit’s] themes of transience and dislocation are contiguous with a broader conversation about the fluidity of identity resulting, in part, from an increasingly—and contentiously (see Brexit, Trump, etc.)—borderless planet.” — The Globe and Mail
“One of our most astute writers. . . . Cusk is very good at creating characters who seem fresh; they blossom under her pen. . . . This is part of what makes [Transit] so effective and smart.” — Quill & Quire (starred review)
“Cusk is now working on a level that makes it very surprising that she has not yet won a major literary prize. Her technical originality is equaled by the compelling nature of her subject matter, and Transit is a very fine novel indeed.” — The Observer
“[Transit] is tremendous from its opening sentence. . . . Cusk is always an exciting writer: striking and challenging, with a distinctive cool prose voice, and behind that coolness something untamed and full of raw force. . . . page-turningly enthralling and charged with the power to move.” — The Guardian
“Transit is an extraordinary piece of writing—stunningly bold, original, and humane.” — Daily Telegraph (London)
“[Transit] is a delightfully fun read. Cusk knows how to write a great novel, and this one satisfies on many levels . . . she is producing work that is beautifully refined.” — The Times (UK)
“Beneath [Transit’s] placid surface, themes of displacement and the desire for transformation and authenticity rumble like small, violent earthquakes. It’s also gruesomely funny: the final part, which describes a particularly poncey dinner party, is like something from a horror story. Strange, frightening and brilliant.” — Daily Mail (UK)
“Brilliantly written and structured, which is nothing new from this superlatively gifted writer.” — Kirkus Reviews
“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.” — Booklist (starred review)
“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.” — Toronto Star
“A novel no less dedicated to uncovering what it feels like to be human. . . . The daisy chain of encounters made for addictive reading.” — Literary Review of Canada
“In Transit, Rachel Cusk masters the art of revealing the one through the many.” — National Post
“A work of stunning beauty, deep insight and great originality. . . . Compulsively readable. . . . It is a work of great ambition, beautifully executed, a worthy successor to the brilliant Outline, and a harbinger of great hope for the third and final installment—soon may it arrive. — New York Times Book Review
“A reading journey you wish didn’t have to end . . . Cusk gives us engrossing, probing conversations . . . Her prose is exquisitely precise.” — NPR
“Cusk’s perspective on the human condition provokes and bewitches.” — Time magazine
“Such deft positioning is Cusk at her most brilliant, feminist best-a reminder that she, and her readers, won’t be pinned down by stories, but freed.” — Elle
“That Cusk makes such satisfying and original use of [her tribulation] is something of a modern literary phenomenon.” — The Buffalo News
“How much should we say, this novel asks, and when should we say it? To whom? In Cusk’s case, a few words are enough to keep readers engrossed, waiting for more.” — The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Rachel Cusk is returning fiction to its roots in storytelling . . . Cusk’s goal . . . [is] the establishment of a compelling, dreamlike language and worldview that are utterly her own.” — Washington Post
“With literary sleight of hand, Cusk is playing narrative tricks, and Transit, like Outline before it, slowly reveals much about Faye, too, no matter how concealed she tries to remain. Transit is a brilliant meditation on change, freedom and the ways we construct our lives.” — BookPage
“Cusk is one of the most lucid, powerful novelists working today, and Transit reflects her ability to make a profound impact with deceptively simple and always elegant prose.” — Nylon Magazine
“Cusk’s writing is the literary equivalent of a glass of Greek white: cool, bracing, a little salty.” — Vogue
“condensed, powerful” — Dallas Morning News
“Cusk’s story-invention powers are so rich that the format feels as fresh the second time around as it did the first.” — Seattle Times
“hypnotizing” — Los Angeles Times
“[I]n her effort to expose the illusions of both fiction and life, she may have discovered the most genuine way to write a novel today.” — The Atlantic
“[Transit] rests its claim to our attention on the consistent keenness of its insights into our human relationships.” — Shelf Awareness
“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.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The rare capital-L Literary writer who can make an entire novel about irresolution feel as gripping and binge-worthy as any thriller.” — Humber Literary Review