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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…

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