Outline by Rachel Cusk

Have come across this book for the afternoon and though it looks like a fairly quick and engrossing read, it's sickening undertones make it almost unbearable.

The book's conceit--that a woman meets several people who open their lives up to her--comes across as laughably improbably.  Her first victim is the man next to her on an airplane.  They have a heart to heart that would probably only be exchanged between some intimately connected therapist/patient.  He tells her about both his divorces, in hightly poetical language (he's not the writer, she is).
Listen to this passage;
A long time ago - so long that he had forgotten the author's name -- he read some memorable lines in a story about a man who is trying to translate another story, by a much more famous author.  In these lines - which, my neighbor said, he still remembers to this day - the translator says that sentence is born into this world neither good nor bad, and that to establish its character is a question of the subtlest possible adjustments, a process of intuition to which exaggeration and force are fatal.  Those lines concerned the art of writing, but looking around himself in early middle age my neighbour began to see that they applied just as much to the art of living. 
He then goes on to discuss his inlaws (from his second marriage).  Do you see what I mean?  Can you imagine actually hearing this from a guy next to you on the airplane?  The same day that I meet Alice in Wonderland.

Equally sickening is the ease with which the characters acquite inner city flats, second homes, and yachts.  It reminds me a little of the Woody Allen movies (i.e. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) where characters who shouldn't have any money (i.e. out of work writers) are living in sheek, inner city three bedroom apartments and drinking sherry all the time at sophisticated dinner parties.

What I mean to say is, I suspect Cusk travels in extremely upper middle class circles.  Does she have a clue about anything?  Other than, say, profound analyses of how divorce changes a person?  This seems to be the central theme of the first thirty pages. 

Perhaps the overwhelming praise for this book on its cover makes me double down on my disdain.  The people who've been deluded by this book include the likes of Jeffrey Eugeniudes, Rivka Kalchen; you know the crowd.  These New Yorker writers, who have high-minded aesthetic opinions, highly successful careers, and at the same time (and perhaps due to their sucess) are totally out of touch with reality.

Well, they must be anyway.  If they're able to stomach this book.

Back to the initial statment about Outline being an engrossing read; ok, so I can't entirely dismiss it.  As it is interesting to read about the non-linear paths a persons life takes.  And the inner reaction to outer circumstances of these lives.   

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