Cover image for Outline
Title:
Outline
Author:
Cusk, Rachel, 1967-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
Physical Description:
249 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
"Rachel Cusk's Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinners and discourse. She goes swimming with an elderly Greek bachelor. 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 is Cusk's finest work yet, and one of the most startling, brilliant, original novels of recent years"--
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374228347
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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

Chosen as one of fifteen remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write in the 21st century by the book critics of The New York Times

Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner. 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.


Author Notes

Rachel Cusk was born on Feb 8, 1967 in Canada. She spent much of her childhood in Los Angeles and finished her education at St Mary's Convent, Cambridge. her education at St Mary's Convent, Cambridge. In 2003, Rachel Cusk was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. That year she published The Lucky Ones (2003), her fourth novel, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award. Since then she has published four more novels; her latest is Outline (2014). She has also written several non-fiction books. A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother (2001) is a personal exploration of motherhood. The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy (2009) is a memoir about time in southern Italy. In 2015 she made the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist with her title Outline.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* An unnamed woman author from England travels to Greece to teach a short writing course. From her final luncheon before leaving London to her concluding afternoon in Athens, her life and particulars remain mostly a mystery to readers, but she relates her conversations with others in detail. She has discussions with friends and other writers, she leads her students through exercises in the classroom, and she exchanges stories with a stranger she meets on the plane and with whom she later reconnects. It is during these interactions, as others reveal their personal beliefs, hopes, dreams, and regrets, that the narrator's stubbornly obscure identity becomes gradually clearer. Though mostly a listener, her interjections, reactions, and guiding questions sketch her image for us in contrast. And as the profile of her main character grows more defined in relief, so does Cusk's underlying message about love, loss, and feminine identity in the modern world, evident not only in her story but also in its delivery. Outline is an expertly crafted portrait that asks readers to look deeply into the text for discovery. Those who accept that challenge will be rewarded for the effort.--Ophoff, Cortney Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

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: "[A] 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.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. On a flight from London to Athens, two strangers strike up a conversation. The Greek businessman is as intimate and fulsome as the woman (our narrator) is restrained and observant. A teacher of writing, the woman elicits confidences from others with the perfectly timed question, the knowing nod. Also a novelist, she can easily spot the inconsistencies in her seatmate's self-serving story of broken marriages and failed businesses. After all, don't we all retool our memories to show ourselves in the best light? The woman is in Athens to lead a seminar, and over the next few days, she listens to narratives from Ryan, her fellow professor; her Greek friends Paniotis and Angeliki; and her students. From her responses to their stories, readers begin to glimpse vital truths about her character, which is actually at the heart of this original novel. VERDICT This book about love, loss, memory, and the lies we tell ourselves and others exudes a contemplative, melancholy atmosphere tempered by British author Cusk's wonderfully astute observations of people and the visual impressions created by her exquisitely structured sentences. Recipient of the Whitbread First Novel Award (Saving Agnes) and the Somerset Maugham Award (The Country Life), Cusk should be more familiar to American readers, and this novel is a solid start. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.