Latest Issue

Rachel Cusk’s essays fail to land their punches

The novelists' hyperbole is unintentionally funny

By Zoe Apostolides   December 2019
Rachel Cusk Photo: Siemon Scamell-Katz/Faber

Rachel Cusk Photo: Siemon Scamell-Katz/Faber

Few contemporary novelists are as divisive as Rachel Cusk, and yet her recently completed Outline trilogy garnered a deservedly positive critical response. The essays in this collection, though, are a disappointment. Coventryis split into three categories: the first contains reflections on motherhood, domesticity and creativity; the second and third provide broader comment on novelists.

The analyses of DH Lawrence, Edith Wharton and Kazuo Ishiguro seem rushed; there is a convoluted and ultimately unsatisfying piece about the life of Francis of Assisi…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect