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Rachel Cusk

Autor(a) de Outline

23+ Works 6,602 Membros 333 Críticas 12 Favorited

About the Author

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 mostrar mais 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) mostrar menos
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Obras por Rachel Cusk

Outline (2014) 1,846 exemplares
Transit (2016) 834 exemplares
Arlington Park (2006) 626 exemplares
Kudos (2018) 582 exemplares
Second Place (2021) 491 exemplares
The Country Life (1997) 389 exemplares
Saving Agnes (1993) 255 exemplares
Coventry: Essays (2019) 231 exemplares
The Bradshaw Variations (2009) 228 exemplares
In the Fold (2005) 207 exemplares
The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy (2009) 154 exemplares
The Lucky Ones (2003) 154 exemplares
The Temporary (1995) 88 exemplares
Charlie Engman: MOM (2020) 5 exemplares
Parade (2024) 5 exemplares
Quarry (2021) 3 exemplares
Det är så man gör (2019) 3 exemplares
Cusk Rachel 1 exemplar
Diger Ev 1 exemplar

Associated Works

The Balkan Trilogy (1960) — Introdução, algumas edições1,102 exemplares
The Little Virtues (1962) — Introdução, algumas edições542 exemplares
Bonjour Tristesse/A Certain Smile (1956) — Introdução, algumas edições297 exemplares
Granta 81: Best of Young British Novelists 2003 (2003) — Contribuidor — 273 exemplares
Granta 78: Bad Company (2002) — Contribuidor — 135 exemplares
Granta 115: The F Word (2011) — Contribuidor — 113 exemplares
The Best American Essays 2020 (2020) — Contribuidor — 85 exemplares
The Guardian Review Book of Short Stories (2011) — Autor — 50 exemplares
Complete Stories (1900) — Prefácio, algumas edições38 exemplares
The Paris Review 208 2014 Spring (2014) — Contribuidor — 16 exemplares
A Day in the Life (2003) — Contribuidor — 14 exemplares
Granta 1 - Eu — Contribuidor — 10 exemplares
Warum Lesen: Mindestens 24 Gründe (Bibliothek Suhrkamp) (2020) — Contribuidor — 8 exemplares
Bosom Buddies: Women's Stories about Friendship, Love, and Life (2003) — Contribuidor — 6 exemplares
Red: The Waterstones Anthology (2012) — Contribuidor — 5 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum




This is my 4th Rachel Cusk book (after the Outline/Transit/Kudos trilogy). I chose to read The Last Supper because at the end of the 1980s (on a whim) my wife and I took our 3 young children (3, 6 and 9 years old) to live in Italy indefinitely. No one bothered about the 30 day visa. Unlike Cusk we had no plans or bookings but being Australians (who are sort after because we fix things) we landed on our feet by becoming caretakers of a converted 9th century monastery between Florence and Arezzo, not far from where Cusk stayed. Once the locals discovered we were not German (we sound German to their ears), we were taken in by the community. The children went to a local school and were fluent in Italian within a couple of months. My wife studied fine arts in Florence and I got a job teaching English to a haughty blonde Florentine bella donna with whom I'd walk with, arm in arm in the Piazza, chatting (intimately) about whatever came to mind. I learnt more Italian than she did English. We got to know the Tuscany quite well through autumn, winter and spring. During the first summer we left the monastery and eventually went south so that the children could climb Mt Vesuvius. We had a tiny car and a tent and camped for months (very rarely in camp grounds) until snow drove us into a stepped hill-town in the Abruzzi where again the children went to school and again the community included us.

Having read Cusk before, I had expectations of insights into ground I thought I knew quite well. At first, I was not disappointed. Her wry insights into the pages of Contatti and observations of the characters she encounters on her travels were a delight. But then, a veil descends and she (and her family) vanish from sight. We are not given much of a glimpse of her husband or her children. The veil is not really lifted until the last pages of the book. Ultimately, there is a kind of profoundly English drabness that makes the veil a kind of smog. It seems to keep Cusk from sharing her intelligence beyond the superficial descriptions of place and people (which she does well and with economy) but there is and was so much more to explore that, by the end, I felt cheated by the limitations and constraints of this resolute Englishness. In a curious way the selection of photographs mirror the text. Their resolution not quite enough to be fully readable, some obscure, many superfluous.

This is not to say there were not moments in the Last Supper that make it worth reading. The enchantment of their stay in the Ardèche with Bertrand lingers. There is a vitality surrounding the tennis matches with Jim and Amanda that makes me feel as if I was present. Cusk lightly touches on the way time expands and contracts, on being together as a family, on the way children can bond instantly, on not being a tourist but not quite belonging, on not finding a place to stay the night, on the forces of disorder in Naples, on being Italian, but she just touches, she doesn't fully embrace anything except her standoffishness and the inevitability of returning to her fold. I think her writing works best when she is present and visible; not hiding behind a veil of descriptive commentary.
… (mais)
simonpockley | 21 outras críticas | Feb 25, 2024 |
This is an interesting case. Firstly, the novel looks to depend in its structure on an obscure 1920s memoir, a knowledge of which would shed light on several things, like why this entire text is continually addressed to a person named Jeffers. However the author seems to not want us to make too much of the connection. To which I say, “ha!”. Literary criticism, amateur or otherwise, will not be dictated to by authors, will it.

The novel’s protagonist is a neurotic, and much of the book is her addressing her neurosis to this aforementioned Jeffers, its unknown silent recipient. She has invited the artist referred to as L to a retreat on her and her husband’s land, hoping that through some uncertain mechanism he will free her mind and give her the rebirth into freedom that she longs for. She has invested L with a near mystical potentiality over her and her emotional state swings wildly in his presence, from despair to hysteria and back again. Evidently this is modeled on that obscure memoirist’s experience of inviting D.H. Lawrence to her own retreat; Lawrence did not like the memoirist and neither does L like our protagonist. L, and presumably Lawrence, are rather unpleasant themselves.

Cusk’s prose is complex, often beautiful, often difficult. Here’s an excellent passage from when our protagonist first encounters L through his paintings and incorporates him into her melancholic universe:
The painting, by the way, was a self-portrait, one of L’s arresting portraits where he shows himself at about the distance you might keep between yourself and a stranger. He looks almost surprised to see himself: he gives that stranger a glance that is as objective and compassionless as any glance in the street. He is wearing an ordinary kind of plaid shirt and his hair is brushed back and parted, and despite the coldness of the act of perception – which is a cosmic coldness and loneliness, Jeffers – the rendering of those details, of the buttoned-up shirt and the brushed hair and the plain features unanimated by recognition, is the most human and loving thing in the world. Looking at it, the emotion I felt was pity, pity for myself and for all of us: the kind of wordless pity a mother might feel for her mortal child, who nonetheless she brushes and dresses so tenderly.

Another feature of the novel is the narrator’s strained relationship with her young adult daughter. As a parent myself I couldn’t identify with some of her attitudes towards her daughter, which edged into existential alienation at times, but this passage I mark well:
When Justine was younger there had been a feeling of malleability, of active process, in our relations, but now that she was a young woman it was as though time had abruptly run out and we were frozen in the positions we had happened to assume in the moment of its stopping, like the game where everyone has to creep up behind the leader and then freeze the second he turns around. There she stood, the externalisation of my life force, immune to further alterations; and there was I, unable to explain to her how exactly she had turned out the way she had.

Other times the prose refuses to cohere into meaning, no matter how many times I reread it. Here is L looking out at the horizon and speaking to the narrator:
‘I suddenly saw it, right out there,’ he said, pointing toward the distant blue shape of the receded tide, ‘the illusion of that death-structure. I wish I had understood before how to dissolve. Not just how to dissolve the line – other things too. I did the opposite, because I thought I had to resist being worn down. The more I tried to make a structure, the more it felt like everything around me had gone bad. It felt like I was making the world, and making it wrong, when all I was doing was making my own death. But you don’t have to die. The dissolving looks like death but in fact it’s the other way around. I didn’t see it to start with.’
When L said these things, Jeffers, I felt a thrill of vindication – I knew he would understand it!

Well the narrator may understand that, but I don’t! Are we meant to? Or is the confusion and incoherence something of what Cusk is aiming for? Is the reader supposed to take this as merely further illustration of the characters’ sad estrangement from the solid core of reality, from a healthy functioning in the physical world, a functioning embodied in contrast by the narrator’s husband Tony, a quiet soul content to be working on the land? I’m not certain.

In any event it’s a novel that lends itself to much thought and discussion of what it’s about and what it’s doing. If there is no clear morality here, no clear take on what it means to be human, it is at least intellectually interesting. And sometimes quite confusing.
… (mais)
lelandleslie | 31 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
bhowell | 31 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Superbly written. But what is it about?!
fmclellan | 104 outras críticas | Jan 23, 2024 |



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