This title was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. A woman arrives in Athens in the height of summer to teach a writing course. Once there, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. Beginning with the neighbouring passenger on the flight out and his tales of fast boats and failed marriages, the storytellers talk of their loves and ambitions and pains, their anxieties, their perceptions and daily lives. In the stifling heat and noise of the city the sequence of voices begins to weave a complex human tapestry: the experience of loss, the nature of family life, the difficulty of intimacy and the mystery of creativity itself. This title is longisted for the Impac Prize.
The stunning new novel from Rachel Cusk, shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, the Folio Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize
Shortlisted for Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015.
"One of the most daringly original and entertaining pieces of fiction I've ever read" Observer "Mesmerising" New Yorker "Brilliant...absorbing, thought-provoking" Evening Standard "Rachel Cusk breaks all the rules... Outline captivates" Independent "If life were fair, Rachel Cusk would win every prize going for Outline " -- Julie Myerson Observer "Winter bouquets should be offered to the clever and stylish Rachel Cusk: her novel Outline is smoothly accomplished, and fascinating both on the surface and in its depths" -- Hilary Mantel Guardian "Outline succeeds powerfully. Among other things, it gets a great variety of human beings down on to 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 "A clever thought experiment that's far too readable ever to feel like one" Sunday Times "A piece of work of great beauty and ambition. Narratives are smoothed, as if by translation and retranslation, into their simplest, barest elements: parents, children, divorces, cakes, dresses, dogs. These elements then build, layer on layer, to form the most complex and exquisitely detailed patterns, swirling and whirling, wheels within wheels" London Review of Books "Cool but compelling, narrow in focus perhaps, but deep in thought" Scotsman "A lethally intelligent novel" New York Times Book Review "A book whose almost dream-like quality has razor-sharp edges" Spectator "A spare, stylish novel which leaves one's mind buzzing... Readable, thought-provoking, full of stories, it's a tour de force. I can't think of any other novel quite like it" -- Brandon Robshaw, 5 stars Independent "Sharply observed...everyone the narrator meets has a vivid presence" Literary Review "Outline is a poised and cerebral novel that has little in the way of straightforward plot yet is transfixing in its unruffled awareness of the ways we love and leave each other, and of what it means to listen to other people... 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" New York Times "It's a strange, oblique, devastated novel that inhabits the landscape after a big break-up without giving up any details. It has a chilly beauty, and hasn't quite left my head since I read it six months ago" -- Kazuo Ishiguro Financial Times "Outline teems with provoking, fascinating ideas expressed in fine, apothegmatic prose" Wall Street Journal "A quietly radical new novel... The result, which recalls Karl Ove Knausgaard in its effort to melt away the comforting artifice of fiction, is a kind of photonegative portrait of a woman who resists concessions in life and art" Vogue "Never less than compelling... Material that might have been ponderous in other hands is, here, magnetic, thanks to the mystery at the heart of Cusk's book, her exquisite lightness of touch and her glinting wit" Daily Mail "Cusk confounds expectations... Outline is full of such wonderful surprises: subtle shifts in power and unexpectedly witty interludes" Daily Telegraph "Described as a "novel in ten conversations"...it turns out to be a clever, fresh device that dispenses with the need for much of a plot and presents instead more of a lush human collage... A rich, thoughtful read" The Times
Rachel Cusk was born in 1967 and is the author of seven novels: Saving Agnes, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award, The Temporary, The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Lucky Ones, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award, In the Fold, Arlington Park, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and The Bradshaw Variations. Her non-fiction books are A Life's Work, The Last Supper and Aftermath. In 2003 she was chosen as one of Granta's Best of Young Novelists.