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The memoir is a tempting but treacherous form. As the English novelist Rachel Cusk writes in Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $20), “Unclothed, truth can be vulnerable, ungainly, shocking. Over-dressed it becomes a lie.” Cusk is known for her sharp style, and in Aftermath she makes no attempt to paper over her wrath at the breakup of her marriage:

We were a man and a woman who in our struggle for equality had simply changed clothes. We were two transvestites, a transvestite couple — well, why not? Except that I did both things, was both man and woman, while my husband — meaning well — only did one.

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