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.
"Odd little book"
The story of a young British woman's first affair and entry into adulthood.
"most boring book I've ever read."
When Stella leaves London for a small village in Sussex, she hopes that the country life will be conducive to her journey toward self-discovery. She'll have no more insipid lover, dead end job, or controlling parents to endure. But, as an au pair for a dispiriting family, she's stalked by bad-tempered people, misfortune from weather and wildlife, and unwelcome suitors. Spunky and resourceful, she manages to keep a stiff upper lip, even when her darkest secret manages to catch up with her.
"I really was glad when this was over"
A woman writer goes to Athens to teach a writing course. Though her own circumstances remain indistinct, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. The more they talk the more certain themes begin to emerge: the experience of loss, the difficulty of intimacy, and the mystery of creativity itself.
Since leaving his job to look after Alexa, his eight year old daughter, Thomas Bradshaw has found the structure of his daily piano practice and the study of musical form brings a nourishment to these difficult middle years. His pursuit of a more artistic way of life shocks and irritates his parents and his in-laws.
"Incisive, challenging novel that fails to satisfy"
Amid the leafy avenues and comfortable houses, the residents of Arlington Park live out the dubious accomplishments of civilisation: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. Men work, women look after children, and people generally do what's expected of them.
In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions - personal, moral, artistic, practical - as she endeavours to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city she is made to confront aspects of living she has until now avoided and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to and believe in life.
Vicky is nine months pregnant and in prison. As the days slip by, she wrestles with the terrible knowledge that her baby will be taken away. Meanwhile her lawyer and his wife have moved to the country with their two children. Their arrival in the village sends ripples through a community that is to reevaluate the nature of family life, love, separation and death....