cover image Kudos


Rachel Cusk. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-27986-8

Cusk’s final book in a trilogy (after Outline and Transit) expertly concludes the story of protagonist Faye, a British author, as she travels Europe to speak at writers’ conferences and give interviews. Since the events of the previous book, Faye has remarried and her sons have grown into teenagers, one of whom is preparing to leave for university to study art history. Yet the novel, like its predecessors, eschews chronicling Faye’s life via traditional narrative, instead filling each page with conversations with and monologues by the many writers, journalists, and publicists she meets during her travels. Shifting away from the last book’s focus on life’s journey, Cusk now places Faye in a series of back-and-forths on duality in family, art, and representation. In Germany, Faye talks to an interviewer about jealousy. Later, a young tour guide explains his thoughts on education, gender, and rewarding intelligence (it is here where the novel receives its title); at another stop, Faye is audience to a series of journalists who discuss honesty and workplace inequality. As always, Cusk’s ear for dialogue and language is stunning. The author ends Faye’s trilogy with yet another gem. (June)