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The Lucky Ones

3.02 of 5 stars 3.02  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A young pregnant mother wrestles with an utterly changed life; a new father searches for a sign of the man he used to be; a daughter yearns for a lost childhood; and a mother reaches out in bewilderment to a child she can't fully understand. A rare novel that illuminates "the bustling concourses of life" without sacrificing emotional depth and complexity, The Lucky Ones co ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Ayelet Waldman
These short stories are lovely, but I have a bone to pick. This is not a novel. Just because a group of short stories happen to share some characters you cannot just call them a novel. Novels have an overarching plot - a narrative. A theme and a thematic structure. STOP CALLING SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS NOVELS. Goddamn it.

It was the July selection of my library reading group and I have to say it didn't capture my interest at all. Some of the prose was beautiful but often it choked itself on wordiness leaving the impression the writer had swallowed a dictionary or was showing off. I just didn't care about the characters or the minute details of their thoughts and lives. I playfully longed for something dramatic to happen; saying to my husband at one point I wish she'd just murder her husband rather than whining ab
Buckle Button Zip
I gave this book two stars mostly because I didn't connect to the story. She's a wonderfully stark and observant writer, who packs a punch with her short stories. The book is a series of short stories that are connected by a "six-degrees-of-separation" theme. Woven through the stories are themes of motherhood/paretning or women wrestling with a should I/shouldn't I have a family question. At 228 pages, it's a fairly fast read, but not necessarily light and breezy.
I didn’t get this. What I saw here was 5 loosely interconnected stories about some very unhappy people. I didn’t see the “luck” anywhere. I’m kind of sorry I read this, for it was rather depressing and I don’t think it said anything good about children at all. I’m glad it was short so I didn’t waste more than a day on it.
Jul 11, 2011 Gail added it
"The thought of his daughter filled him with spurts of nervous warmth, and with the alarm of someone who has dropped a plate and is watching it in the the last seconds of its wholeness, before it hits the floor."

Rachel Cusk, The Lucky Ones (London: Harper Perennial, 2003), 39.
This book was like a book in the round. The first characters you meet in the first chapter disappear and then you find them in the last. It's a six degrees of seperation kind of book set in Suburban London. I enjoyed it.
I placed The Lucky Ones on my "short stories" shelf because, to me, the five short chapters that comprise this book certainly read more like loosely related short stories than a cohesive novel.
Short stories about reproduction/motherhood adn family dynamics. Sad but well written I did not finish it as I was not really in the mood for these stories.
Now, I really enjoyed Arlington Park, so had high hopes for The Lucky Ones. Unfortunately Cusk's earlier novel did not elicit the same response. Despite having a different subject matter, the layout was a bit too similar to AP, yet not as enjoyable a read. Whilst Arlington Park had subtle touches of humour, The Lucky Ones was just a bit too dreary and the characters aren't particularly believable or likeable.

That isn't to say it isn't well written, because I want to make it clear that it is. Cus
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"Other skiers shot by him, their bodies straight and graceful, swaying from side to side with the precision of metronomes and then vanishing in a spray of powder" (40).
"Now that the baby had come his life would be lived aginst a mounting force of limitation" (56).
“Samantha bore a curious resemblance not only to her son but also to Robert himself. They were made in the same style. They were like a set of vases, or a series of paintings by a particular artist” (78).
“ ‘I remember, when the twins we
Melissa Rotkiewicz
As far as short story collections go, this book was entertaining and had some good plot lines. I was easily captivated by the first story, and truthfully, would have been happier if that had developed into the whole book. Nonetheless, the other stories were okay and kept me interested enough to read them through.
Gavin Wright
So far, everything i have read by Rachel Cusk has been satisfying; perhaps in the main due to the fact that i feel she is one of the few modern writers i actually am convinced by, that seems to be writing the books that i want to read (and write).

This is not so much a novel as a short collection of longer short stories, the first two are decent enough, the third begins to really interest, but it is the last two that stand out, to the point where i finished the book disappointed that these two we
I read this book for the first time in the summer of 2004, and decided to re-visit it four years later. It hadn’t made a memorable impression on me from that summer, but I did recall liking it. This time around, I was shocked by how little I had remembered about it, so unfortunately, though this set of four short stories that interlink together was interesting, it was rather forgettable. The links between the stories provided the most fascinating aspect of this rather hard to classify book as a ...more
Michele White
So many unsympathetic characters! Hard to warm to them, although the author does make some pithy observations about relationships.
Izabella Sandison
This book was about a girl who was pregnant in jail for something that she didn't even do. She suffered many months of pain with barley in help and she basically gave up because her lawyer that was supposed to get her out didn't. He was sick for a few weeks and gave the case to his other lawyer to do it for him but she messed up the whole thing. Leaving the girl named Kristy to serve 10 years in prison while her child is growing up away from her mother. Throughout the novel the chapters where st ...more
Jennifer D
Jan 01, 2011 Jennifer D rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Short story readers; mothers
Recommended to Jennifer by: Janet
This book of connected short stories is my first experience with Cusk. I will definitely read her novels as I liked her style. Each story offered a different glimpse of Cusk's creative abilities. The first story in the collection was my favourite. It is a 5-star story, to me. There were a couple of 4-star stories and a couple of 2-star and 3-star stories so I am having a tough time with my overall rating. Probably 3.5-stars. How non-committal is that??

Possibility of more detailed review to come.
Quick read of interconnecting entertaining short stories.
Jo Ann Hall
The woman can write, no doubt about it. Her subject matter and absolute honesty in approaching it may make the mothers among us squirm a bit. I am curious to know if other readers are reminded of Iris Murdoch's writing, although I'd say that Cusk is much less self-conscious and precious in her task. As well-written as it is, I'm not sure that it improved MY human condition in its reading, and perhaps that's not an entirely fair test of its worthiness.
i enjoyed reading this book, which is a novel, although it often feels like a collection of short stories. it's a light read and the story/ies mostly deal with women, families, family life and children, etc. it was a neat read because it stimulated a lot of thought about "traditional" and "modern" senses of the way people should/do relate to each other within and outside of family structures.
I learned of this book via Cookie magazine. It's an excellent and fascinating description of multiple mothering perspectives - influenced by age & social class. I found the initial chapter to be very compelling, but the last chapter to be a bit weak. Regardless, like The Corrections, some of her prose perfectly encapsulates the emotional experiences of motherhood.
Very good, she writes very well about the inner thought processes of people and this collection of short stories (but with inter-connected characters) was striking. Although... everyone is sad, or disappointed, or not in love with their spouse, or struggling with parenthood and at times I yearned for at least one character to be happy and fulfilled.
A steely, truth-telling collection of linked short stories (it's absurd that the publisher tried to pass this off as a novel). Cusk's descriptions of domesticity are piercing and clean. She never stoops to sentiment as she observes the lives of fulltime mothers. Rather, her stories acknowledge the violence and terror of everyday existence.
Alyssa Stukenbroeker

Wildly confusing. Story was all over the place. Too hard to follow. I honestly can't remember if I finished this book and where the plot was going... I gave it two stars because it was a great idea... But poorly executed.
part of the problem was that my reading of this book was very choppy. But basically, I didn't get it. I still have no idea what the first chapter had to do with the rest of the book. Or the second chapter.
Shonna Froebel
Sad, but allowing some hope.
Linked stories
On first read, this seemed rather annoying, too bedroom of a drama, but on second read with students it struck me as profound and carefully crafted (if still overwritten in places).
Nov 16, 2007 Alison marked it as to-read
This is a book that I started reading a few years ago but had difficulty with it - just because it was so emotionally powerful and disturbing. I'm going to give it another try soon...
It was so bad I could not read more than two chapters. The characters were very poorly developed. The stories/chapters were not well written.
Jan 07, 2009 Allie marked it as to-read
This looks like a good book that will make you feel something in the end.
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RACHEL CUSK is the Whitbread Award–winning author of two memoirs, including The Last Supper, and seven novels, including Arlington Park, Saving Agnes, The Temporary, The Country Life, and The Lucky Ones. She lives in Brighton, England.
More about Rachel Cusk...
Outline Arlington Park The Country Life A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother The Bradshaw Variations

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