In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. 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 its keenly intelligent protagonist, Transit sees Rachel Cusk delve deeper into the themes first raised in her critically acclaimed 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 precise, short and yet epic cycle of novels, Cusk manages to describe the most elemental experiences, the liminal qualities of life, through a narrative near-silence that draws language towards 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.
Shortlisted for Goldsmiths Prize 2016.
"An extraordinary piece of writing - stunningly bold, original and humane." -- Joanna Kavenna Daily Telegraph "Rachel Cusk's new novel 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, even rash ... Transit steers with stylishness and grace between the low-lying truths and the significant dramas we compose for ourselves out of the accidents which befall us. Offering no hostages to convention, it's somehow page-turningly enthralling and charged with the power to move." -- Tessa Hadley Guardian "Her writing, for all its laconic, pared-back grace, is rich in detail... Cusk is now working on a level that makes it very surprising she has not yet won a major literary prize. Her technical originality is equalled by the compelling nature of her subject matter, and Transit is a very fine novel indeed." -- Helen Dunmore Observer "Superb. This second volume confirms that one of the most fascinating projects in contemporary fiction is unfolding in Rachel Cusk's trilogy. Like Outline, Transit is written with a disarming, deceptive simplicity that belies its psychological insight. The effect is like looking down into clear sea water and slowly realising that you can see to dizzying depths." -- Adam Foulds "[Transit is] gruesomely funny... Strange, frightening and brilliant." -- Claire Allfree Daily Mail