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Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation
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Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In 2003, Rachel Cusk published A Life's Work, a provocative and often startlingly funny memoir about the cataclysm of motherhood. Widely acclaimed, the book started hundreds of arguments that continue to this day. Now, in her most personal and relevant book to date, Cusk explores divorce's tremendous impact on the lives of women.

An unflinching chronicle of Cusk's own recen
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Hardcover, 160 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 676)
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MJ Nicholls
Feb 13, 2013 MJ Nicholls marked it as getting-even
Never marry a writer, because when the inevitable happens, they can turn their distress into “art” and send you down as the flakiest twot of all time. Unless Hatchet Job winner Camilla Long is to be believed.
Kasey Jueds
I was predisposed to love this book, since I've loved all of Rachel Cusk's work (with the exception of one of her very early novels) thus far--I even pre-ordered it on Amazon, which I think I've done maybe once before. There are so many things I admire about RC's writing--many of which, oddly, are a lot easier to express negatively. Her memoirs aren't memoirs in the common sense of the word--Aftermath and her two previous memoirs, The Last Supper and A Life's Work, don't tell a story in any sort ...more
Sarahc Caflisch
Not an unenjoyable read if you read this first: http://hatchetjoboftheyear.com/ which I kind of agree with (the review AND that the reviewer deserved "Hatchet Job of the Year"). Warning: this book is very overloaded with metaphors and similes. The prose like a soup that has been overcrowded with vegetables and meats to the point where the broth disappears altogether. And, like a once-ever-green bush now hidden under a mink coat of white snow. Or a cat with a spine riddled with tumors. And much l ...more
Iva
Rachel Cusk's novel's are wonderful; they are illuminating, thoughtful and worthwhile reads. However, this so-called memoir is not in that category. It appears --at least to me--to be a series of journal entries mostly about her separation from her husband, but mysteriously, she never reveals much about the marriage. Her self-absorption is difficult to overcome.
Elyssa
Underwhelming, lacking substance, and reads like a poorly edited diary; if the author insists on writing about the aftermath of her separation, it would be helpful if she gave the reader more insight as to why her marriage ended.
Jennifer
I am not sure what all the fuss is about. Yes, it's raw and angry, but it's not exactly a 'tell-all' about her marriage or divorce. She hits on some of the major issues, but avoids the gory details--wisely, I think. Her husband doesn't come off too badly, her kids probably wouldn't even recognise themselves, so the only one who she really hangs out to dry is herself, and isn't that her prerogative? OK, maybe people take issue with her very blunt opinions on love, marriage and motherhood, but man ...more
Lucy Somerhalder
As with A Life's Work, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the exploration of loneliness. There is some wonderfully brutal honesty in this - the kind that seems to perfectly articulate those long-held, yet fragmented and unutterable feelings of unease. Hats off to Cusk, because her honesty often leaves her exposed and thoroughly unlikable.
Kolumbina
What a horrible book! During the creation of this book I believe that the writer (full time writer Rachel Cusk) was in a bad mood. A very bad mood. It is not surprising considering her separation/divorce and consequences of divorce. She got a partial custody of her daughters but she was also supposed to financially support her husband who didn't work (a lawyer), was at home (by choice) helping bringing up the children. What a mess!!!
There is a lot of Greek mythology in this book. Quite a few cha
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The Mead
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Gervy
Well-written, I suppose, but I found it pretentious and didn't relate to the author at all.
James Tierney
Perfectly brittle memoir on the aftermath of separation.
Sarah
As someone who divorced with young children 12 years ago this book was fascinating and I could identify with much of it - esp. the constant feeling the author has of looking at 'intact' families and feeling that she is an alien in comparison, that she and her daughters are shut out from the cozy family scene now that the family is split. I had that feeling quite a bit the first few years of divorce but as time went on and I met more and more divorced folks I felt more 'normal' and my life got ha ...more
Jessica
Cusk's memoir about divorce is filled with powerful language and literary prowess. At first, I liked how it seemed that she was zooming in on the realities of divorce through an unexpected and unique lens. But after awhile, it felt like she was avoiding much of the sticky, confusing, and wrenching guts of a failed marriage. I felt at times that she was using her literary allusions and references to avoid digging in to this material.
The memoir ends with a piece of fiction, that while captivating,
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Catherine
Metaphors. Much skillful use of metaphors. And a very interesting final chapter told from a different point of view.
Terry Mensching
Apr 09, 2015 Terry Mensching rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are questioning their marriage/life choices
Good, but not as good as her other books. I do look forward to her next books. She is an excellent writer.
Leanne
Rachel Cusk is a tremendous writer. Such depth and poetry in almost every sentence.
Rhian
If you want to know what divorce is like, but don't want to go through the paperwork...

This is actually a very, very internal account of something that would have more meaning for the reader if it were less so. There are no details about the ex, or why the marriage fell apart. But this book doesn't care about the reader -- that wasn't Cusk's project. For what it is, it is quite brilliant. But you have to get over the writer's complete self-absorption. I suspect not every reader will want to do t
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Robin
Elegantly written. Not my thing. Philosophical, fatalistic (in the sense that marriages should fail), angling toward nihilistic, devoid of joy or passion for life. I feel for Cusk, who is talented and has documented her difficult time. I was waiting for the book to be over and am not sure why I pushed on to finish it. She is waiting for her life to begin again in a re-invented way. I feel mean-spirited in my opinion of this book. Is it fair to say I might have enjoyed it had she made it fiction?
Rhiannon Johnson
This slim piece by Cusk is poetic and fluid. The stream of conciousness style writing is well suited for the topic. Her thoughts swim around in the days and months following her divorce. She draws comparisons to Greek mythology and questions family structure. This book will be a great point of reference for divorce, family studies, cultural expectations of marriage, and especially for the reflections of a modern scholar on her emotional fragility following her marriage's demise.
Esther
She got a lot of flack for writing this account of her divorce and the period afterwards - emotional narcissim and the such. It is searingly honest and brilliant writing, but I concur the critics have a point. Especially the scenes she recalls involving her children, seems to undermine their privacy and right to be their own people, not daughters of famous writer. But I kept on reading, it was too good not to, so my moral compass is hardly flawless.
Karen
She is a painfully elegant writer. The atmosphere is raw, needy and uncomfortably honest about women's lives. It has its occasional lapses. The word 'aftermath' is dragged out too often, too obviously, diluting its power instead of leaving it to breathe its own shocking integrity. But overall it's another painful exposure of the lacerated underbelly and the dark thoughts we'd like to ignore.
Stephen Lamb
Most of the reviews I've read say that Cusk fell short of what she was trying to accomplish with this book. I disagree. Or at least, I don't care. I loved the writing so much I was more than happy to be along for the ride, enjoying her well-crafted sentences and evocative word choices. Whatever else it may be, "Aftermath" is a beautiful book, one I very much enjoyed.
Paula Maguire
I could hardly believe my luck finding this available so soon after it was just released and reviewed by all the papers. I devoured it, comparing her marriage to mine, looking for the fault lines. It was absolutely fascinating and unbelievably sad for all concerned. I was particularly struck by the social isolation she felt when she left her partner
Vicki
Rachel Cusk's autobiographical stuff (this book and A Life's Work) is *so* infuriating that you just want to shout at the author - 'do you have NO sense of critical distance? No sense that it's not All About You'? And her prose is frequently (wilfully?) laboured. But just sometimes she really hits the nail on the head...
Lisa
Rachel Cusk gently weaves bits of her experiences following the end of her marriage with philosophical musings. The story seems fragmented, but she skillfully brings closure. Some of the analyses involving Greek mythology and Shakespeare prove distracting. But her writing is so clean and beautiful, just lovely.
Minna
If Chris Hynde studied classics and played the keyboard, this would be her variation on the harrowing divorce memoir genre. It is sad and I loved it.

http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/
Simon Thirsk
Perhaps the bravest book I have read for a very long time.
Not a novel but an account of what it felt like to destroy a marriage.
A moving and painfully-honest book which is an essential read for our age.
What are we doing to our emotions?
This lady can write!
Marina Sofia
Painful, with some searing truths (or at least one woman's truths, but sentiments which will resonate with many others, just more eloquently stated).
Hayley
A raw account of the break up of a 10 year marriage that also explores what it is to be a woman, wife, mother and daughter. It's a thought provoking if somewhat difficult read.
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RACHEL CUSK is the Whitbread Award–winning author of two memoirs, including The Last Supper, and seven novels, including Arlington Park, Saving Agnes, The Temporary, The Country Life, and The Lucky Ones. She lives in Brighton, England.
More about Rachel Cusk...
Outline Arlington Park The Country Life A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother The Bradshaw Variations

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“The world is constantly evolving, while the family endeavours to stay the same. Updated, refurbished, modernised, but essentially the same. A house in the landscape, both shelter and prison.” 0 likes
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