A Life's Work
On Becoming a Mother
Author: Rachel Cusk
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book, A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother is multi-award-winning author Rachel Cusk’s honest memoir that captures the life-changing wonders of motherhood.
Selected by the New York Times as one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years
The experience of motherhood is an experience in contradiction. It is commonplace and it is impossible to imagine. It is prosaic and it is mysterious. It is at once banal, bizarre, compelling, tedious, comic, and catastrophic. To become a mother is to become the chief actor in a drama of human existence to which no one turns up. It is the process by which an ordinary life is transformed unseen into a story of strange and powerful passions, of love and servitude, of confinement and compassion.
In a book that is touching, hilarious, provocative, and profoundly insightful, novelist Rachel Cusk attempts to tell something of an old story set in a new era of sexual equality. Cusk’s account of a year of modern motherhood becomes many stories: a farewell to freedom, sleep, and time; a lesson in humility and hard work; a journey to the roots of love; a meditation on madness and mortality; and most of all a sentimental education in babies, books, toddler groups, bad advice, crying, breastfeeding, and never being alone.
“Funny and smart and refreshingly akin to a war diary—sort of Apocalypse Baby Now…A Life’s Work is wholly original and unabashedly true.”—The New York Times Book Review
In The News
“I love reading it, and found it fascinating, but I also found it dangerous. An incitement to riot...it's an extraordinary piece of work and the writing is utterly beautiful...I laughed out loud, often, in painful recognition.” —Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky
"Rachel Cusk writes about new motherhood with an honesty and clarity that makes this memoir feel almost illicit. Sleepless nights, yes; colic, yes; but also a raw, frantic love for her firstborn daughter that she depicts and dissects with both rigor and amazement. " — Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times Book Review