‘The people that I tend to have speaking in my books have a momentary emergence, like someone getting out of the sea and standing on a rock for a minute and sort of looking around, and for whatever reason they can see where they are. They can see themselves and they can see what’s around them and say what it is. The times that one can do that in life—it’s probably not that many.’

– Rachel Cusk, The Art of Fiction No. 246, The Paris Review

‘Winter comes: the days are brief and pale, the sea retracted as though into unconsciousness. The coldly silvered water turns quietly on the shingle. There are long nights of stars and frost, and in the morning frozen puddles lie like little smashed mirrors in the road. We sleep many hours, like people recovering from an operation. Pain is so vivid, yet the stupor of recovery is such that pain’s departure often goes unnoticed. You simply realise, one day, that it has gone, leaving a curious blank in the memory, a feeling of transitive mystery, as though the person who suffered is not – not quite – the same as the person who now walks around well. Another compartment has been created, this one for keeping odds and ends in, stray parts of experience, questions for which the answers were never found.’

– Rachel Cusk, Aftermath, Coventry