The first in Rachel Cusk’s critically-acclaimed trilogy, shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the Goldsmith Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Prize.
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Author of the Booker-longlisted novel Second Place
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 student in storytelling exercises. She meets other writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her seatmate from the place. 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 great a great loss.
Outline is the first book in a short and yet epic cycle – a masterful trilogy which will be remembered as one of the most significant achievements of our times.
‘Outline succeeds powerfully. Among other things, it gets a great variety of human beings down on the page with both immediacy and depth; an elemental pleasure that makes the book as gripping to read as a thriller… A stellar accomplishment.’ James Lasdun, Guardian
One of the most daringly original and entertaining pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.
Outline is smoothly accomplished, and fascinating both on the surface and in its depths.
While little happens in Outline, everything seems to happen. You find yourself pulling the novel closer to your face, as if it were a thriller and the hero were dangling over a snake pit.
Cusk is so gifted at distilling the human condition into words that some of her observations have the profundity of those of the great philosophers.
A stellar accomplishment.
Brilliant . . . absorbing, thought-provoking.
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