Second Place (Hardback)
From the author of the Outline trilogy, a fable of human destiny and decline, enacted in a closed system of intimate, fractured relationships.
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Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021
‘A classic, but with contemporary urgency thumping through it.’
Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond
From the acclaimed author of the Outline trilogy, a fable of human destiny and decline, enacted in a closed system of intimate, fractured relationships.
Praise for the Outline trilogy:
‘A landmark in twenty-first-century English literature.’
‘Precise and haunting … Unforgettable.’
‘Achieves a kind of formal perfection … masterly.’
‘A work of great stunning beauty, deep insight, and great originality.’
A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. Over the course of one hot summer, his provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally between our internal and external worlds. With its examination of the possibility that art can both save and destroy us, Second Place is deeply affirming of the human soul, while grappling with its darkest demons.
Cusk has glimpsed the central truth of modern life . . . She moves through it as a blasted centre full only of instinct and superhuman hearing and hackles.
Rachel Cusk is always an exciting writer: striking and challenging, with a distinctive cool prose voice, and behind that coolness something untamed and full of raw force . . .
Bewildering and bewitching.
A stranger comes to stay in this fascinating, uncomfortable exploration of creativity, the male gaze and the gendered experience of freedom. Cusk’s story of a female writer’s power struggle with a male artist is one of the first novels to take inspiration from lockdown.
Ever inventive, Cusk keeps pushing the novel into new terrain.
Cusk is really interested in ideas — how to live, what freedom means, the ways women subsume themselves into the lives of others … The hybrid form that results — half-novel, half-not — has a timeless, enduring quality.
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