A luminous, powerful novelthat establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the Englishlanguage
A man and a woman areseated next to each other on a plane. They get to talking—about theirdestination, their careers, their families. Grievances are aired, familytragedies discussed, marriages and divorces analyzed. An intimacy isestablished as two strangers contrast their own fictions about their lives.
Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelistteaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer inAthens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets othervisiting writers for dinner and discourse. She goes swimming in the Ionian Seawith her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly aboutthemselves: 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. Itbrilliantly captures conversations, investigates people’s motivations forstorytelling, and questions their ability to ever do so honestly orunselfishly. In doing so it bares the deepest impulses behind the craft offiction writing. This is Rachel Cusk’s finest work yet and one of the moststartling, brilliant, original novels of recent years.