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Outline (Outline Trilogy, 1)

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The first in Rachel Cusk's critically-acclaimed trilogy, shortlisted for the Folio Prize and the Goldsmith Prize and longlisted for the IMPAC Prize.

Rachel Cusk's 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.

Chosen as one of fifteen remarkable books by women that are shaping the way we read and write in the 21st century by the book critics of The New York Times
 

“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.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“[Outline] is mesmerizing; it makes a sharp break from the conventional style of Cusk's previous work . . . Outline feels different, its world porous and continuous with ours, though not for the reasons we might expect.” ―Elaine Blair, The New Yorker
 

“Outline. It defies ordinary categorisation. It is about authorial invisibility, it involves writing without showing your face. The narrator is a writer who goes to teach creative writing in Greece and becomes enmeshed in other peoples' narratives which Cusk stitches, with fastidious brilliance, into a single fabric.” ―Kate Kellaway, The Guardian

“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, The Guardian's Writers Pick the Best Books of 2014

“[Outline is] 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.” ―Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
 

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