By Chet Yarbrough
By: Rachel Cusk
Narrated by: Kate Reading
Rachel Cusk (British author, novelist.)
In “Transit”, Rachel Cusk offers a master class for people who wish to be writers. Cusk creates a picture of a writer’s life, i.e., the places they go, conversations they have, and work they do in writing a story. Cusk explains what it is like to be a writer. Whether writing about oneself, an incident, an acquaintance, or an important “other”, the art of writing is in the details and how they are arranged to stimulate readers’ or listeners’ interest.
Cusk cleverly begins her story in her search to purchase a flat in London. A realtor tells her to find one in a good neighborhood that is underpriced because of its dilapidated condition.
The realtor advises a good neighborhood is where the greatest value is when purchasing a home. The idea is that reconstruction will increase value beyond cost of repair if the flat is in a good neighborhood. As a part time professor, Cusk’s heroine is in the business of reconstructing writers, like a homebuyer reconstructs a home.
The neighborhoods for writing are fiction and non-fiction. Cusks counsel to writers is to reconstruct their writing if a story is not up to its neighborhood’s standards. As any reader/listener knows, books have been published with both richly and poorly written stories.
Cusk describes a young woman writer who is divorced, has two young boys, lives in London and makes a living as a writer and adjunct professor for “wanabe” writers. Cusk takes reader/listeners on a journey to a writer’s book club meeting. Writers attend distant book club meetings to tell their stories and sell their books. In the telling at one of these meetings, one hears of admiration and love/hate relationships between authors. At the same time, one learns of the tediousness of travel from one book club to another while learning how writers think and talk about their books.
Cusk’s heroine talks to aspiring writers and what they wish to write about. In her story, a listener/reader finds what makes research and facts important in writing a book. Writing must put research and facts together in a way that makes a story interesting and relatable to its audience.
Cusk’s story may or may not be about herself, but “Transit” offers valuable insight to anyone who is interested in becoming a writer. Cusk’s heroine is both relatable and informative while telling a story through the lens of a writer’s lived life which, like all lives, is in “Transit”.