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Fiction Literary

The Bradshaw Variations

A Novel

by (author) Rachel Cusk

Publisher
Picador
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Category
Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781250828194
    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
    $24.5

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Description

“Astonishing . . .The Bradshaw Variations is a timely, necessary story.” —Elle
Thomas Bradshaw and Tonie Swann are experiencing the classic symptoms of marriage in its middle years: comfortable house, happy-enough daughter, and an eerie sense that life might be happening elsewhere. Then Tonie accepts a big promotion at work and Thomas agrees to become a stay-at-home dad.
While Thomas is suddenly faced with the daily silence of an empty house, Tonie finds herself alive to previously unimagined possibilities. And at the head of the family, the aging Bradshaw parents continue their marital dynamic of bickering and petty undermining.
The seventh novel by the acclaimed author of the Outline trilogy, Rachel Cusk’sThe Bradshaw Variations is a lyrical, subversive tale of a marriage unraveling.

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.”

Rachel Cusk's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Astonishing . . . Like a genius gem cutter, Cusk continues to brazenly flout the pure realism that dominates current literary fiction in favor of a Woolfean approach that uses style and sensory impressionism to chisel out inner turmoil.The Bradshaw Variations is a timely, necessary story . . . I'm escaping to the metaphorical forest with a pile of Cusk novels. I hope you'll be brave enough to join me.” —Miranda Purves, Elle
“Again and again [Cusk] provides that primal joy of literature: the sense of things being seen afresh.” —James Lasdun, The Guardian
“A virtuoso . . . [Cusk's] interiors whisper and shiver, as if Virginia Woolf had flitted through . . . It is the author's mix of scorn and compassion that is so bracing. Sometimes she complicates simple things, snarling them in a cat's cradle of abstraction, but just as often, a sentence rewards with its absolute and unexpected precision . . .” —Hilary Mantel, The Guardian
“Frighteningly sharp . . . [I was] affected and moved, [and] at times I just wanted to punch the air in a frenzy of delighted recognition . . . Every single one of these honestly drawn and heartsinkingly recognizable characters . . . gave me real, crackling pleasure . . . This isn't the first novel of Cusk's to make me laugh out loud, but it is the first to have really moved me . . . Her triumph is to make us laugh at, but also I think forgive, ourselves.” —Julie Myerson, Financial Times
“Brilliant . . . Cusk is marvellous on the way that one generation watches another and it is her own watchfulness that makes her novel so special. She combines restlessness with absolute stillness; she misses nothing . . . In a sense, [this book] is a modernMrs. Dalloway. . . I enjoyed everything about this dazzling performance of a book. I was engrossed, entertained and converted . . . This, Rachel Cusk's seventh novel, is her best.” —Kate Kellaway, The Observer (London)
“Cusk, who won Britain's prestigious Whitbread Prize for her debut novel, 'Saving Agnes,' is a first-rate writer, caustically intelligent and sharply observant. . . Pretty much every page [ofThe Bradshaw Variations] gleams with Cusk's darkly humorous powers of observation.” —Curtis Sittenfeld, The New York Times Book Review
“Cusk is mercilessly acute in her dissection of the Bradshaw family. Their failures are exposed by her scalpel prose. It makes the reader feel rather protective of them, which is a clever trick. It allows Cusk's characters human breath beyond the high art of her writing . . . I know I will keep thinking about them.” —Helen Brown, The Daily Telegraph
“Cusk has a gift for wrapping minute, piercing observations on domestic life in lyrical passages that consistently bring fresh insight to the time-worn question.” —The A.V. Club
“Like Franzen'sThe Corrections, Cusk's narrative captures the emotional life of its characters, complete with downfalls and compromises. While the chapters move swiftly, Cusk takes time to pause over and unravel intimate moments and uncover the illogical paths of human relationships.” —Heather Paulson, Booklist

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