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Outline
by Rachel Cusk


Overview -

One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2015

A luminous, powerful novel that establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the English language

A man and a woman are seated next to each other on a plane. They get to talking about their destination, their careers, their families.  Read more...


 
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More About Outline by Rachel Cusk
 
 
 
Overview

One of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2015

A luminous, powerful novel that establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the English language

A man and a woman are seated next to each other on a plane. They get to talking about their destination, their careers, their families. Grievances are aired, family tragedies discussed, marriages and divorces analyzed. An intimacy is established as two strangers contrast their own fictions about their lives.
Rachel Cusk's "Outline" is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner and discourse. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves: their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.
"Outline" takes a hard look at the things that are hardest to speak about. It brilliantly captures conversations, investigates people's motivations for storytelling, and questions their ability to ever do so honestly or unselfishly. In doing so it bares the deepest impulses behind the craft of fiction writing. This is Rachel Cusk's finest work yet, and one of the most startling, brilliant, original novels of recent years.

Short-listed for the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize, finalist for the 2014 Folio Prize
Named one of the best fiction books of 2014 by "The New Yorker," "The Guardian," The" Independent" and "Glamour" A "Publishers Weekly" Pick of the Week and "Flavorwire" Staff Pick"

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374228347
  • ISBN-10: 0374228345
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: January 2015
  • Page Count: 256


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-10-27
  • Reviewer: Staff

On an airplane to Athens, Greece, where she plans to teach a summer school course, English writer Faye strikes up a conversation with the passenger sitting next to her, a verbose elderly gentleman. The two chat for the entire flight, and days later, Faye allows the man to take her swimming aboard his boat, where she learns about his multiple marriages and troubled children. Thus begins this brilliant novel from Cusk (The Bradshaw Variations),who shuns fictional convention and frills in favor of a solid structure around a series of dialogues between Faye and those she encounters on her travels. While dining with old friends on two separate occasions, she hears tales of literary stalkers and near-death experiences. And within her classroom, students recount their own histories: from family pets to daily routines. Though Faye often functions as the sounding board, the reader nevertheless comes to know her—divorcée, mother—through her interjections and inquiries. These 10 remarkable conversations, told with immense control, focus a sharp eye on how we discuss family and our lives. As Faye bounces from one happenstance to the next, the words of one of her students echo on the page: “ story might merely be a series of events we believe ourselves to be involved in, but on which we have absolutely no influence at all.” (Jan.)

 
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