Outline: A Novel

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jan 13, 2015 - Fiction - 256 pages
37 Reviews
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A Finalist for the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

One of The New York Times' Top Ten Books of the Year. Named a A New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker, Vogue, NPR, The Guardian, The Independent, Glamour, and The Globe and Mail

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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlisonY - LibraryThing

I'm trying to figure out if I loved this book or not. The fact that I tore through it in one sitting shows that I liked it well enough, but somehow it already feels not particularly memorable. I liked ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - newnaturalmama - LibraryThing

At first I had trouble understand the point of this book, but once I got the format down there were some stories/characters I liked abs some I didn’t. Read full review

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About the author (2015)

Rachel Cusk is the author of the Outline trilogy, the memoirs A Life’s Work and Aftermath, and several other works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a Guggenheim fellow. She lives in London.

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