October 1st, 2018

In today’s episode of Canadaland, Sheila Heti interviewed Rachel Cusk. It was a wonderful surprise to hear two women talking about art on a media criticism program that I otherwise conceive of as being very male. I loved what Cusk had to say about character, truth and narrative frequency, how she directed each question, no matter how personal, back to form. When differentiating between her fiction and memoir (Cusk has written several books of each) Cusk said, “A novel, you have to build like a building, so that it stays standing even when you’re not in it…For memoir, you use yourself as the building so other people can come be in you for a bit.”

The end of the interview was disappointing, only because I felt as though Cusk had said something that demanded more questions. She said, “(On literary panels) one is expected to have an opinion on the Me Too movement…and I find I have nothing to say. I felt I’ve lived through womanhood in the most basic and arduous ways, and now I don’t feel gendered, and I’m interested in knowing what is after gender.”

I am so curious to hear more about what she means. She is fifty-one. She has written eight novels and three memoirs, all about issues that are decidedly “gendered”–motherhood, divorce, sexist reactions to her books. A reviewer at the New York Times called her one of the smartest writers alive. She has no opinion on Me Too. She is interested in what is after gender. Aren’t we all? Isn’t that what Me Too is all about?