Claire Jarvis

  • Love in a Cold Climate

    In the title essay of her new collection, Rachel Cusk describes something she calls being sent to “Coventry.” This, as it is for many English families, is her family’s term for putting someone beyond the pale, for thrusting an offender out into silence. Her parents “send her to Coventry” when she does something they dislike, when she has slighted them or failed them in some way. “Sometimes,” Cusk writes,

    It takes me a while to notice that my parents have sent me to Coventry. It’s not unlike when a central-heating boiler breaks down: there’s no explosion, no dramatic sight or sound,