Outline by Rachel Cusk
How is it that I have never read this book before? Or worse still, how is it that I hadn’t even heard of Rachel Cusk?
Thankfully, this situation has been remedied and I am now in possession of the trilogy in which Outline is number one ( & I am happy to report I am currently burning through number two so please check out the bottom of this review for an update on that ).
Outline is a novel in ten conversations with a nameless narrator. She has travelled to Greece to teach a writing course and each chapter chronicles a single conversation with a handful of characters. Reading Outline is less like reading a novel, more like being told a story while you are lying on a psychiatrist’s couch, drinking wine. It is eerily close to being dream-like, but glued with laser beam observations about ordinary people.
This book is basically one big human collage – minus the plot, the sub plot and quotations marks.
And the breadth of language used by Cusk is glorious ! She doesn’t need exclamation points like I just did.
Given I had never seen some of the words used before – each one of them placed perfectly within the sentence – I was actually left wondering if she made them up ? If she did, bravo, I am a fan and this feat alone makes Rachel Cusk a master of words, as well as a wizard with people.
And while that is my 2 cents worth on this book, I have another 2 cents to share on her other books.
At the time of posting now, I have also finished book two titled Transit and number three called Kudos. I won’t review them individually because each continues on in much the same way as Outline. Beautiful reflections and the most extraordinarily vast conversations which roll, one after the other, like seductive ocean waves.
It is my opinion that you don’t need to read all three to feel the full impact of Cusk’s writing. Each one stands alone and is deserving of your attention but it is in number two, Transit we discover the narrator’s name is Faye. If I had to choose a favourite, it’s that one.
So that is now my 4 cents worth.