Outline by Rachel Cusk


A woman writer goes to Athens in the height of summer to teach a writing course. Though her own circumstances remain indistinct, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives.Beginning with the neighbouring passenger on the flight out and his tales of fast boats and failed marriages, the storytellers talk of their loves and ambitions and pains, their anxieties, the...

Details Outline

Release DateSep 4th, 2014
PublisherFaber & Faber
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Novels, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Greece

Reviews Outline

  • Beth
    Damn you, Rachel Cusk. This book was absolutely infuriating. As I was reading it, I kept telling myself that I hated it. And so, I burned through it in a a little more than 24 hours. It bears little resemblance to any other novel I've ever read. The characters seem vague and unformed, but they come through with periodic startling observations about life and human nature that hit me like a punch in the stomach. The "star system" here on Goodreads ...
  • Violet wells
    Reading Outline is like spying on an author in the process of auditioning characters for a future novel. In other words it is indeed an outline, an outline for a work that it still shadowy in the writer’s mind. Cusk interviews her potential characters and lets them tell her emotionally pivotal stories about themselves. She makes no other dramatic demands of them. They become like a Greek chorus of voices without a play. A writer, unnamed until ...
  • Orsodimondo
    UN MODO DIVERSO DI STARE AL MONDOQuale magnifica lettura mi ha donato Rachel Cusk! Un libro perfettamente naturale, che non mostra né gli ingranaggi della teoria né lo sforzo di essere contemporaneo e che finisce per essere un libro molto contemporaneo e non estraneo alla teoria.Inizia su un aereo in volo da Heathrow ad Atene. L’io narrante è una scrittrice, divorziata madre di due figli, che viene coinvolta in una conversazione dal suo vici...
  • Julie Ehlers
    In Outline, a writer named Faye (perhaps not unlike Rachel Cusk herself) travels to Athens for a few days to lead a writing workshop. Along the way, she engages in conversations with several people--her seatmate on the plane, other teachers and students in the workshop, friends she meets up with, friends those friends have brought along, et cetera. Sometimes Faye listens to these people without comment, sometimes she challenges them, sometimes sh...
  • Elyse Walters
    The protagonist is a British novelist, who goes to Greece for one week, to teach creative writing. She, *Faye*, is divorced, and has 2 sons who stayed back in London.That’s about all we know of her for awhile. Actually we never learned her name until late in the book. We are slowly piecing together stories about Faye. The uniqueness of this novel is cerebral and gorgeous.Before the narrator even arrives in Athens, she engages in an intriguing-i...
  • Jaidee
    5 “pristine, refreshing, clear” stars. 2016 Bronze Award - Third Favorite Read (Tie) I am a man that resides in the world of emotion. They are here with me always and are always acute, not in the background. Emotions often make me soar to the heavens or shiver in delight, but other times they make me flounder, weigh me down like the experience of walking in the cold snow with a hole in my boot that leaves my precious foot frigid and lonely.I ...
  • Kalliope
    Although I've read this in English I thought that the title for the Spanish translation suited the novel better then the original. Contraluz, that translates literally as 'backlighting' but whose meaning is something like 'against the light' fitted better this novel in which an English woman, who travels to Athens to teach writing to Greek pupils, leaves behind a shaded world to face her life and herself against the Aegean sun.This novel is loade...
  • Julie Christine
    To call this a novel would seem to restrict it to a convention of style, to set up expectations of narrative rhythm and form. Outline, so aptly named, is a sketchbook of lives, charcoal drawings of souls captured in profile.The book is series of conversations delivered with a twanging chord of tension and self-interest. Or really, it's a collection of confessions delivered to a listener who reciprocates only rarely; she is an ear, an eye, a filte...
  • Justin Evans
    My wife used to read the TLS 'books of the year' edition and use it to choose books she wanted to get. Then, one fateful year, everyone recommended a certain book; she purchased it in expensive hardcover, read it in a day, and was completely flummoxed. The book was garbage. What to make of this? She decided that the U.K. publishing scene is so small and (her word) incestuous that they just read the same five books and then talked about them for a...
  • Joseph Burgess
    Rachel Cusk is obviously a writer of tremendous talent, and "Outline" doesn't hide her skills.But I found this book to be lacking. The premise, on its face, is interesting: a series of conversations the narrator has with people she meets on her week in Athens that helps show the wide disparity of "outlines" and shapes of people's lives. It sounds existential and philosophical and hip and like half of all of the other novels that are coming out ri...
  • Gumble's Yard
    Like many others of my Goodreads friends, I re-read just ahead of the publication of the concluding book of the trilogy which this book commenced. My original review of this and the second volume Transit is below – on this reading I enjoyed finding quotes which summarised for me either Rachel Cusk’s underlying technique in writing the trilogy, or the choice of title for this first volume. There was so little interface between inside and outsi...
  • Rebecca
    I read the first 66 pages before setting this aside. I didn’t dislike the writing; I even found it quite profound in places, but there’s not enough story to peg such philosophical depth on. This makes it the very opposite of unputdownable. Last year I read the first few pages of Cusk’s Aftermath, about her divorce, and found it similarly detached. In general I just think her style doesn’t connect with me. I’m unlikely to pick up another...
  • Diane Barnes
    This is a difficult book to review because of its strange nature. Not really a novel in terms of plot (there really isn't one), it is instead an account of conversations with others, mostly strangers, involving a recently divorced mother of two sons who has come to Athens for a few days to teach a writing course. As she recounts these conversations and their settings, a few facts from her own circumstances emerge.This doesn't sound like much to b...
  • Joachim Stoop
    Rather 4,25.Phew, this is something else! There is some of the best writing in it, but because of the lack of story AND abundancy of stories it was a tough read. There is at the same time nothing and too much going on. It is a rather new and fresh take on storytelling (altough it reminded me of Jenny Offill, Valeria Luiselli, Miranda July and especially Ben Lerner). It is so dense and deep that you really have to stay 100% concentrated all the ti...
  • Blair
    Nothing much really happens in Outline. A writer, Faye, goes to Athens to teach an English-language writing workshop. She befriends the man sitting next to her on the plane, who tells her of his failed marriages. The stories Faye hears - from this man, from her co-teacher, from her students and friends - make up the narrative, and in between we learn a little of her own life. So it's not terribly eventful, and there certainly isn't a plot, but th...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Hardly anything happens in this book but I really enjoyed reading the conversations and insights about life and connection, and the setting is pretty great too. Some of those are marked from the Kindle version I read.It's funny, I saw a review for this in Publishers Weekly back in 2014, and I would pick it up at the library and look at it and always decide not to read it. It was hard to understand the point. Then several reading friends with good...
  • Roger Brunyate
     Antimatter He was describing, in other words, what she herself was not: in everything he said about himself, she found in her own nature a corresponding negative. This anti-description, for want of a better way of putting it, had made something clear to her by a reverse kind of exposition: while he talked she began to see herself as a shape, an outline, with all the detail filled in around it while the shape itself remained blank. Yet this shap...
  • Patrizia
    Una voce narrante ci regala momenti di una settimana trascorsa ad Atene. Di lei sappiamo che è divorziata, ha due figli e parte da Londra per insegnare scrittura creativa. Nessuna indicazione sul suo aspetto fisico, appena qualche squarcio della sua vita privata, il nome, Faye, nell’ultimo capitolo. Il suo ruolo è quello di osservare e ascoltare. Sembra possedere una capacità innata di spingere i suoi interlocutori ad aprirsi e a parlare di ...
  • Frona
    To live as a detection device in the middle of a busy street is a legitimate choice - and a tempting one to make. To observe the world as it leisurely unfolds without your interference means to avoid the difficulties of constant selection. If you are just a passive receiver, all bits of the ceaseless flow of information fit your narrative; there's no need to shape them in accordance with your purposes. In exchange for cohesion you get all kinds o...
  • Trish
    The third volume of the trilogy of which Outline is first is what introduced me to Cusk. I am kind of astonished I’ve not been badgered about her constantly—she is so funny, so illuminating, so exacting. My enthusiasm for Kudos prompted GR friends to insist I read the three-books-in-one so I picked up Outline.I’m pleased I read the third book first. It is even better than the first by orders of magnitude, though I’d feared I’d begin to ...
  • Teresa
    3.5I’ve been reading a lot of late-19th-century writing and something told me to take at least a short break, so I requested this from the library. While its prose is intelligent and impressive, I thought of abandoning the book early on. Eventually the structure, which is its main element, grew on me. To fully understand the meaning behind the structure (and the title), you need to read to the end. The narrator—referenced by name once only—...
  • Roman Clodia
    Extraordinary - review to come tomorrow.------------------------------------In Book 3 of his Metamorphoses, Ovid retells the stories of Narcissus and Echo (joined for the first time, I think, by Ovid) and it was this dual story that kept pulsing through my mind while reading Outline: issues of narcissism and self-abnegation, of mirrors and reflections, of voices and gender and appearing/disappearing bodies (the latter female) form a subtle, allus...
    Scrittrice nobilmente referenziata. Ero curioso. Parziale delusione. Cominiciamo dal titolo italiano (in originale è “Outline”): una volta tanto, mi pare azzeccato. Il tono è proprio quello: un resoconto. Puntuale (aderente al punto), fino al didascalismo. E potrebbe tendere ad irritare se non fosse che la scrittura è ineccepibile, elegante. Se didascalie sono, illustrano perfettamente la foto di gruppo che sta dentro il romanzo. Per esemp...
  • Banushka
    çok beğendim. şimdi yazarın aynı karaktere yazdığı ikinci kitap geçiş’e başlayacağım.atina’ya yaratıcı yazarlık dersi vermeye giden faye’in uçakta yan koltukta tanıştığı adamla başlıyor roman. tanıdıkları, tanıştıkları, öğrencileri hep bir şeyler anlatıyor ama bu anlatılanlar sanki yeni tanıştığımız birinin kendisini anlatması kadar doğal, açık ve aslında kısacık roman insana dair her şeyi a...
  • Brian
    Like watching paint dry without the action of having paint run down the wall. This felt like reading a languid MFA paper by the precocious pet student. Forced to read this because Paris Review in its infinite wisdom published the novel over four issues in 2013-2014. I stopped reading in the third installment.
  • Doug
    Update, 4/25/18: I'm rereading Cusk's first two volumes of her trilogy in eager anticipation of concluding it with a recently received ARC of Kudos, the final volume. Oddly enough, this time I had no such problem (as with the initial time) getting into the book - in fact I read the first 100 pages in a single sitting, and finished the entire book within a 24 hour period. I still found myself re-reading passages, but rather than seeing this as a d...
  • Claudia
    Rachel Cusk já é escreveu nove romances, mas só agora conheci o trabalho da autora com o primeiro livro de uma trilogia recentemente lançado pela Quetzal. Em 2003 foi escolhida pela Granta como uma das melhores jovens romancistas. Na altura tinha apenas 37 anos. Recebeu com este romance rasgados elogios pelos vários meios de comunicação e críticos literários. Foi finalista do Prémio Baileys em 2015.'Se passar algum tempo a ler este roma...
  • Teresa
    Na badana e contracapa desta edição, existem algumas daquelas frases jornalísticas que tentam um leitor a comprar o livro. Não foi bem o meu caso, que já me defendo deste tipo de aliciamento - e também porque o "pobre" tem no Goodreads um rating de 3.44. Mas ofereceram-mo e há que ser agradecida. E não é que os críticos dos Independent, New York Times, Observer,... têm razão?«Rachel Cusk quebra todas as regras.»«Um romance letalmen...
  • Lee
    Seemed too soft for me at first, kept thinking it was pillowy, aerated, possibly thanks to the large type and space between lines and comfortable margins of the paperback I read. It's probably a 165-page double-spaced manuscript at most, formatted to 249 easily turned pages, a good idea on the part of the publisher to accelerate a reader's progress since it's not plot-driven at all and only over time does the outline of the narrator, her history ...