Books on GIF #14 — 'Outline' by Rachel Cusk


Books on GIF is a weekly review and discussion of random books told with the help of GIFs. We'll cover fiction, nonfiction and the occasional graphic novel.

This Sunday's book is 'Outline' by Rachel Cusk.


Cusk's story develops through a series of monologues the main character, Faye, listens to, or conversations she has during a trip to Athens to teach a writing course. You do learn a bit about Faye as the book progresses — you get the sense that things are not going so well in her life — but she remains very much an outline. One less like this:

And more like this:

Each monologue or conversation yields something profound, like:

Cusk text

It's all very intellectual:

The book is not plot driven. While Faye goes on a journey, as many characters do in literature, what she learns from it or how she's changed by it is ambiguous. Her path is not really important. She is there to facilitate a conversation in the reader's mind that deals with many themes of middle age: divorce, children, loneliness, love, aging, ennui, relationships, honesty, men, women and falling out of love. If you're over 40, this book can be a bit:

But I loved it. 

'Outline' by Rachel Cusk was published in Great Britain by Faber and Faber Ltd. and in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2014.  It was published in 2016 by Picador. 249 pages.

My rating:

What's next? In the coming weeks, I'll review 'The Dispossessed' by Ursula Le Guin, 'The Story of a New Name' by Elena Ferrante and 'The Sympathizer' by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

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