Set over the course of one day this is a snapshot of suburban life seen through the eyes of five women, all married, financially secure and mothers. Their lives should be perfect but none of them are particularly happy. The women muse over their lives while carrying out the mundane duties of day to day living. Cusk’s ability to focus on the dullest of actions, such as filling the fridge or parking the car, draws out the frustration these women feel at how humdrum their lives have become. Although there is a lot of resentment and dissatisfaction among these women Cusk still manages to fill the book with humour, albeit quite dark humour.
Arlington Park, a modern-day English suburb, is a place devoted to the profitable ordinariness of life. Amidst its leafy avenues and comfortable houses, its residents live out the dubious accomplishments of civilisation: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. For all that, Arlington Park is strikingly conventional. Men work, women look after children, and people generally do what’s expected of them.
Theirs is a world awash with contentment but empty of belief, and riven with strange anxieties. Set over the course of a single rainy day, the novel moves from one household to another, and through the passing hours conducts a deep examination of its characters’ lives: of Juliet, enraged at the victory of men over women in family life; of Amanda, warding off thoughts of death with obsessive housework; of Solly, who confronts her own buried femininity in the person of her Italian lodger; of Maisie, despairing at the inevitability with which beauty is destroyed; and of Christine, whose troubled, hilarious spirit presides over Arlington Park and the way of life it represents.
'[An] elegant new novel . . . tender, haunting, grimly comic and infinitely disturbing . . . Cusk is a dazzling recorder of the minute strangeness of domestic life.' Evening Standard
'Novelist Tibor Fischer once noted that Rachel Cusk is particularly adept at treading the line between humour and menace. Never is this more true than with Arlington Park . . . an uncomfortable but essential book.' Observer
'Cusk writes with a steely, implacable eye. Her world is intense. She fastens on details like a magpie, seeing the essence of a character in the glint of a thought or a gesture . . . her intensity and intelligence are paramount.' Scotsman
'Arlington Park is a strikingly good novel, funny, poignant, savage, tender and appalling.' Helen Dunmore
Publication date: 03/05/2007
Publisher: Faber And Faber
Format: Paperback (b Format)
|Publication date:||3rd May 2007|
|Publisher:||Faber And Faber|
|Format:||Paperback (b Format)|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Rachel Cusk was born to English parents in Canada in 1967, and spent most of her early childhood in Los Angeles. On coming to England in 1975, she was sent to a Catholic convent school in Cambridge before reading English at New College, Oxford. After graduation, she lived and worked in Madrid for a year before travelling in Central America. Her first novel Saving Agnes won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1993. She is also the author of The Temporary and Country Life. Rachel now lives permanently in North London, concentrating on her writing, as well reviewing regularly for The Times and ...More About Rachel Cusk