Outline, by Rachel Cusk (2015)

Continuing with my Bailey’s reading, my review of ‘Outline’ by Rachel Cusk is now online at the new edition of Shiny New Books.


I’m not going to repeat the review here, only say that I really really enjoyed it.  I did recently read a Rilke poem though, that seems to explore Cusk’s title perfectly:

…It’s as if – in a quick sketch – all the effort
has gone to prepare a background that allows us
to see precisely and yet still we cannot grasp
the real contour of our feelings and we know
only the pressures that shape us from the outside…

Rilke, from the ‘Fourth Duino Elegy’ (trans. Martyn Crucefix)

I really hope you read ‘Outline’ and admire it as much as I do.  It’s a very hard book to describe, but a wonderful reading experience.  Well done to the Bailey’s judges for rewarding ambition and originality in their excellent 2015 short-list; I’m so pleased this small, unassuming book has received at least some of the recognition it deserves.

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