Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner. She goes swimming with an elderly Greek bachelor. 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. Outline is Rachel Cusk’s finest work yet, and one of the most startling, brilliant and original novels of recent years.
“Cusk is a master of sparse, exquisite prose. . . . [Outline] successfully conveys all of her admirable honesty in the safe harbour of fiction, and somehow delivers more human truths than most memoirs ever could.”
“[A] lethally intelligent novel. . . . Spend much time with this novel and you’ll become convinced that [Cusk] is one of the smartest writers alive. ”
“One of the most daringly original and entertaining pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.”
“Quietly radical. . . . Ingenious.”