OutlineBy Rachel Cusk
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 and creates a new version of family life for her daughters. She discovers previously unknown strengths and freedoms but also finds herself suddenly vulnerable to outsiders, unwelcome advice, social displacement and the absence of a clear authority. The pressure to reconstruct a 'normal' life for her daughters competes with the sense that nothing feels normal at all. "Aftermath" is a masterly work in which the author, at her most candid and rigorous, charts the largely unwritten journey back to order from the chaos that is left when a family breaks apart.