A Sunday Times (London) Top 100 Novel of the Twenty-First Century
“No one has written better about what, I suppose, is generally known as female experience . . . All of it is familiar from life but not (thus far) from literature. Everything about Arlington Park is original and fearless.” —Francine Prose, Bookforum
Set over the course of one rainy day in an ordinary English suburb, Arlington Park is a viciously funny portrait of a group of young mothers, each bound to their families, each straining for some kind of independence: Juliet, enraged at the victory of men over women in family life; Amanda, warding off thoughts of death with obsessive housework; Solly, about to give birth to her fourth child; Maisie, struggling to accept provincial life; and Christine, the optimist and host of a dinner party where the neighbors come together.
Penetrating and empathetic, Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park is “a domestic adventure about the perils of modern privilege that is as smartly satirical as it is warmly wise” (Elle).
About the author
Rachel Cusk is the author of nine novels, three non-fiction works, a play, and numerous shorter essays and memoirs. Her first novel, Saving Agnes, was published in 1993. Her most recent novel, Kudos, the final part of the Outline trilogy, will be published in the US and the UK in May 2018.
Saving Agnes won the Whitbread First Novel Award, The Country Life won the Somerset Maugham Award and subsequent books have been shortlisted for the Orange Prize, Whitbread Prize, Goldsmiths Prize, Bailey’s Prize, and the Giller Prize and Governor General’s Award in Canada. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. Her version of Euripides’ Medea was directed by Rupert Goold and was shortlisted for the Susan Blackburn Smith Award.
Rachel was born in Canada in 1967 and spent her early childhood in Los Angeles before moving to the UK in 1974. She studied English at Oxford and published her first novel Saving Agnes when she was twenty six, and its themes of femininity and social satire remained central to her work over the next decade. In responding to the formal problems of the novel representing female experience she began to work additionally in non-fiction. Her autobiographical accounts of motherhood and divorce (A Life’s Work and Aftermath) were groundbreaking and controversial.
Most recently, after a long period of consideration, she attempted to evolve a new form, one that could represent personal experience while avoiding the politics of subjectivity and literalism and remaining free from narrative convention. That project became a trilogy (Outline, Transit and Kudos). Outline was one of The New York Times’ top 5 novels in 2015. Judith Thurman’s 2017 profile of Rachel in The New Yorker comments “Many experimental writers have rejected the mechanics of storytelling, but Cusk has found a way to do so without sacrificing its tension. Where the action meanders, language takes up the slack. Her sentences hum with intelligence, like a neural pathway.”
“Everything about Arlington Park is original and fearless.” —Francine Prose, Bookforum
“Hideously funny . . . A novel with a sense of rightness at its core and a narrative intelligence so swift and piercing it can take your breath away.” —The Boston Globe
“Her books are smart and deep, telling tales of urban life that are the twenty-first-century version of Austen or Thackeray. . . . Cusk's depictions and evaluations are spot-on, her language smooth and enthralling.” —Baltimore Sun
“Cusk's glory is her style, cold and hard and devastatingly specific, empathetic but not sympathetic.” —Los Angeles Times
“Cusk's frank acknowledgment of maternal ambivalence is rare and wonderful.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Sharp wit and commanding prose.” —The New York Times
“Devastating . . . Incisively vivid.” —Publishers Weekly