Outline is a meditation on observation. Faye is a teacher spending the summer conducting a writing seminar in Athens. What follows is not a page-turning plot, but rather a series of exchanges -- with the man seated beside her on the plane, with a colleague, with her students and friends. The result is philosophical and beautiful.
I love Cusk's writing style so much it needs to be quoted. During her first conversation with her neighbor on the plane, he observes, "A sentence is born into this world neither good nor bad, and to establish its character is a question of the subtlest possible adjustments, a process of intuition to which exaggeration and force are fatal. Those lines concerned the art of writing, but looking around himself in early middle age my neighbor began to see they applied just as much to the art of living. Everywhere he looked he saw people as it were ruined by the extremity of their own experiences."
Outline is spare and contemplative, engaging the reader with a clean cadence that reminded me of Panorama City by Antoine Wilson.— From Mia
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"
"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.
About the Author
Rachel Cusk is the author of three memoirs-A Life's Work, The Last Supper, and Aftermath-and several novels: Saving Agnes, winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award; The Temporary; The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky Ones; In the Fold; Arlington Park; and The Bradshaw Variations. She was chosen as one of Granta's 2003 Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in London.