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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Outline - Rachel Cusk

Faye goes to Athens to teach a summer writing course. On her flight to Athens the neighbouring passenger tells her about himself - his failed marriages and businesses, his boats and his children. When she arrives in Athens the people she meets also provide her with the personal details of their daily lives. These exchanges are one-sided and from them we learn next to nothing about the narrator. It is as if this is an outline consisting of individual stories that will later be fleshed out and strung together as a novel. It's an interesting concept but I found the book hard to read. About a third of the way through I began to get impatient and wanted something - anything - to happen. In the end I don't know whether I liked it or loathed it.

I had a similar reaction after reading Cusk's first novel Saving Agnes. I said "Agnes couldn't engage with others and I found I couldn't engage with her." I feel much the same about Faye.

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