Arlington Park

Rachel Cusk, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $23 (248p) ISBN 978-0-374-10080-3

In this devastating ensemble novel, Whitbread Award–winner Cusk (Saving Agnes ) exposes the roiling inner lives and not-so-quiet desperation of young mothers in the well-to-do London suburb Arlington Park. The book's single day begins with an epic rainstorm that wakes part-time private-school English teacher Juliet Randall, who spent the previous evening at a wealthier neighbor's home and was told, in front of husband Benedict, "You want to be careful.... You can start to sound strident at your age." As Amanda Clapp strains to maintain her house's empty perfection, a multi-kid play date gets out of control. Maisie Carrington feels "imprisoned for life" by her frosty, upper-crust childhood, and can barely contain her violent feelings toward her own daughters. Christine Lanham, a newcomer to the class distinction her marriage has brought her, abhors the hypocrisy that surrounds her, but knows she will never leave her family. The story line coils around each woman's home until it gathers the group for a drunken dinner party, where husbands express pleasure with their privilege while fretting that something feels amiss, and children, exhausted by their mothers' alternating neglect and desperate love, sleep like the dead—leaving the women holding hot coals of their silent insights. Their plight is an old story, but Cusk makes it incisively vivid. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/16/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-571-22848-5
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-571-22847-8
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-312-42672-9
Hardcover - 375 pages - 978-1-4059-1760-5
Hardcover - 375 pages - 978-0-7862-9449-7
Hardcover - 376 pages - 978-1-4056-1761-1
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-2-7578-1006-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-571-26718-7
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-5202-6
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