Outline

Outline

Outline

“Outline is startlingly unique. A future classic. Cusk offers a boundless volley of unchartered truths of the human psyche. She is jarring, visceral, wise. Outline refuses to pander to expectation, resulting in a stubborn, sideways type of literary perfection.” Grace Dent, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2015 judge.

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, their perceptions and daily lives. In the stifling heat and noise of the city the sequence of voices begins to weave a complex human tapestry. The more they talk the more elliptical their listener becomes, as she shapes and directs their accounts until certain themes begin to emerge: the experience of loss, the nature of family life, the difficulty of intimacy and the mystery of creativity itself.

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