In the winter of 2009, Rachel Cusk’s marriage of ten years came to an end. In the months that followed, life as she had known it came apart, ‘like a jigsaw dismantled into a heap of broken-edged pieces’. ‘Aftermath’ chronicles this perilous journey as the author redefines herself as a single woman.
Cusk does write intimately about her family’s life with, and without, her husband – just not in the voyeuristic manner that our society has grown used to.
Whether there is a defining incident that caused Cusk’s separation from her husband we don’t know, and nor should we necessarily care. Cusk’s focus is on the pain and grief that accompanies the deterioration of a marriage and a life built together, specifically when it involves children.
As philosophical as this memoir may be, Cusk also deftly balances exposing her depleted mental state with her physical deterioration.