Arlington Park
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Arlington Park

2.81 of 5 stars 2.81  ·  rating details  ·  837 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Arlington Park, a modern-day English suburb very much like its American counterparts, 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 civilization: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. In Arlington Park, men work, women look after chi
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 9th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2006)
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Hannah
Mar 16, 2014 Hannah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Depressed middle-aged women
Shelves: fiction, hated-it
This book is interesting in that it takes an unusual perspective on the woman's role in the family. But this novelty doesn't last long. It soon becomes apparent that there's very little distinguishing any of the female characters from the others: they were all depressed, dissatisfied, unloved and unloving.

In some ways, the voice that describes the relationships each mother has with her family is disturbingly detached. The only character that has any spark whatsoever is Solly. But she only has o...more
Veronica
You're taking the piss, aren't you Rachel? That was my first thought, when Rachel Cusk opened this novel with a 20-page description of rain falling. It didn't improve thereafter. Cusk is a great believer in telling, not showing, with lengthy descriptions of her characters' states of mind and past history.

And what characters! I hated all of them, and I am pretty sure Cusk does too. The novel is a prolonged rant against motherhood as experienced by the well-off. This was what grated with me. The r...more
Lilly G
This is a tricky one.

I picked it up because I liked the cover and I liked the idea of seeing snapshots of the lives of people who live in the same area. I didn't realize I'd be getting a manifesto on domestic life. That said, it's a beautifully written manifesto, and I can see why Cusk was listed as one of Granta's young authors to watch.

The tricky part of the novel is that it examines the tedium of the women's lives; four women who are housewives, trapped on Arlington Park with husbands they do...more
Mara
Maybe it's only three and a half stars, but what is good is so good, and what's bad is mostly what leaves me frustrated with the utter grey bleakness in it. I am okay with bleak, but it seems like after so much bleakness one usually finds a glimmer of possibility for change.

Other reviewers are dismayed that there is no room for difference with Cusk's politics. I actually sort of delighted in sentences like "Also, people of the Milfords' sort preferred to think of the Randalls as non-materialist...more
Felice
We all understand that you never know what goes on behind your neighbors’ curtains, right? We’ve learned this from relationships, novels and every Lifetime TV movie ever made. We got it. The yards in the neighborhood might be beautifully groomed, the car in the driveway the latest model, the children all smiles at the bus top but peel back the veneer and voila! The seamy underbelly of suburbia. This is the territory that Rachel Cusk covers in her novel, Arlington Park.


Have you read anything by M...more
Catherine
If you're looking for a spot-on skewering of middle-class life in Britain, this is your book - a meditation on a loosely connected group of men and women all living in the fictional suburb of Arlington Park. It's bleak, and much of the narrative is mapped out through the internal monologues of key characters as they try to figure out what on earth they're doing living where they are, doing what they do. They're self-absorbed, depressed, casually racist, passively feminist, and unable to communic...more
okyrhoe
Arlington Park is a series of untitled & unnumbered passages; each one focuses on a different woman coming to grips with her suburban life's dissatisfactions. This variation on a single theme comes dangerously close to making the narrative obsolete as a whole. It's difficult to center one's attention on each separate character; the women's identities & responses almost merge into a single persona by the end.
That there is no worthwhile plot and each character's fate is indistinct from th...more
Kathleen Hagen
Arlington Park, by Rachel Cusk. B. Read by Jilly Bond, produced by Isis, downloaded through Audible.

Frankly, I downloaded this book because it was read by Jilly bond, one of my favorite British narrators for British books. Jilly was as good as usual, but the book itself was somewhat tiresome. We go through a 24-hour period in Arlington Park, as deadly a British suburb as we could produce here in the U.S. We have vignettes of several families where the wives stay home with the children and are in...more
Joana Vaz Teixeira
This books seems to balance between a kind of undeclared feminine manifesto and a story of sheered families. The plot takes action during a single day. It starts during dawn on a rainy night and the characters are introduced to us during the day. All main characters are women. Around them, husbands and children, and the life in an English suburb. While they are introduced, the reader gets the feeling that they are unhappy and bit lost. Like they are just trying to survive, for an unknown reason....more
Julie
I really enjoyed this book. Maybe it is because I read it on a dreary, rainy February day. The language and the descriptions were beautiful and evocative. The first chapter about the rain totally captured me.
In a vivid way it brought back memories of raising my young daughters and being vaguely unhappy, bored but not in a desperate way. She really captured the conundrum of the modern woman to be a loving mother and have a successful career and a happy marriage We see these women struggle with t...more
Jennifer
Let me just start by saying that Cusk's prose is practically perfect--every sentence is poetic and eloquent and fraught with purpose and meaning. Although she depicts one side of motherhood (the mind-numbingly boring, annoying, miserable side), she fails to accurately capture the complicated nuances of it overall, which in turn, made me like her writing less and less as the book wore on so that by the end, I thought, "Whew--finally I'm done with all of these horrid characters." I wanted to like...more
Valeriane
5 vies, 5 parcours, dans la banlieue anglaise d'Arlington park.
5 femmes au foyer différentes, mais qui se ressemblent sur un point : une vie qui oscille dangereusement vers le désespoir.

Sous une façade de vie de famille parfaite se cachent les rêves qu'elles ont effacés pour s'occuper des mari, enfants et maisons.

Loin du regard humoristique porté sur les desperate housewives de Wisteria Lane, l'auteur nous décrit des portraits plus acides et amers. Avis à celui ou celle qui recherche une transla...more
Rachel
Amazingly written and equally unbearable and bleak. The utter desolation of these privileged, godless British mothers was enough to depress the bejeebies out of me for the duration of the three days it took me to read it. Rachel Cusk is an inarguably brilliant writer, but my goodness! I could relate in many ways to the ambivalence and even fleeting hatred of one's spouse and children - it is real, and she is wise to remind us to acknowledge the dark side of the fairy tale as universal and "norma...more
Heather
Second in a row, depressing commentary on modern life. But compared to Girls in White Dresses, this was so beautifully written and still a tinge of hope could be felt. This story focuses on late 30-something women in a London suburb, each chapter a look into one woman's daily life. They are all dissatisfied, seemingly searching for something to make their lives better, unable to appreciate what they already have. Yes, we all have days (and that is all we read, one day) while raising kids and liv...more
edifanob
Das Buch handelt von Frauen aus gehobenen mittelständischen Familien, die in Arlington Park ( ein fiktiver Vorort Londons) leben.

Es wird das Leben verschiedener Frauen betrachtet. Ihnen allen zu eigen ist eine innerliche Unzufriedenheit und Leere.
Sie sind versunken in ihrem täglichen trott.
Manche stellen sich die Frage: War das alles im Leben?

Ich habe noch nie so viel Hoffnungslosigkeit und Fantasielosigkeit die hinter einer gutbürgerlichen Fassade versteckt wird, erlebt.

Dieses Buch hat mir auf...more
Esther
Brilliant. Fast becoming one of my favorite writers. This one deals with a group of people living in a fictional suburb in England - Arlington Park - and their lives over the course of one day. No-one captures the minutia of the stresses of day to day life and the struggles and compromises of being a parent and a spouse like Cusk. There are some great characters in this, some obnoxious mums and awful right wing husbands, petty snobberies and the whole awfulness of a trip to the soulness local me...more
Nick
I gave this one a shot after not liking Saving Agnes (her first) all that much. But perhaps I shouldn't have. Cusk is great at dialogue, but there are many pages where it's very lengthy description and I tended to get a little bored. I also -- this seems to be a trend for me -- love the premise: a group of loosely connected women in a British suburb dealing with their lives and the ways that are bored and discontented with their lot. It's smart, it's feminist, it's also a little boring.
Lindsay
A novel that seems not to have a plot, and with that in mind is possibly a little long at 240 pages.
But I do disagree with previous reviewers that this book is dull. There are actually NO stereotypes in Arlington Park, but in fact women and men struggling, often badly, against their prescribed existences. I found it a moving, sometimes disillusioned, but always compelling account of the emotional discomfort of the physically comfortable.
Hanka
I thought it was beautifully written - lovely turns of phrase. First chapter entirely drenched in relentless rain - captures Britain so perfectly in fact is just like it out there as i write! Spot- on description of teenagers further on in book. Pitch perfect glimpse into lives of English middle classes. Couldn't wait to read more so followed it with 'saving Agnes ' again beautifully and intelligently written but didn't grab me as much.
T
I really liked this style of writing. I could relate to so many of the feelings/thoughts that women in this book have and I'm sure lots of my female friends would appreciate them also. It personifies the constant pull for women trying to be a good mother/wife/friend without losing their own identity or becoming bored and boring. I'm keen to read her other books.
Kiwie
I have too many thoughts about this novel and am having a hard time articulating them, much like the women it follows are incapable of properly communicating with each other, their children or husbands or the world in general (to be honest I think that is the case for most of us with most other people).

Middle class English suburbia. That's the setting, and the characters start out as somewhat separate, but become more and more alike. They're dissatisfied wives and mothers, some are bored, some...more
Irene
Loved this - it was a lucky discovery among the Orange shortlist - and was captivated by its descriptions of suffocating suburbia. Very Virginia Woolf. Not to be dismissed as a pessimistic paean on the female condition, but rather to be considered a tribute to the the drama of ordinary people's lives.
Shaunna
No, just no. Run far away. The summary sounded good enough for a library book on tape to listen to while commuting, but this was rubbish. 10 minutes describing falling rain or people in a park? It was so tedious that I almost gave up several times and once actually said out loud "thank god" at the end of a CD. The entire book was way too drawn out and overly descriptive to get to a point that could have been summed up in one page. I kept hanging on because I didn't have another book on tape in t...more
George
I have not read a work of Rachel Cusk before but the comments and extracts about her book concerning her journey and stay in Italy greatly interested me. In the bookstore in Athens "Arlington Park" was the only book of hers that was available. I was hesitant about buying it since it is female centered and Anglocentric and I am neither female nor English. Nevertheless after I bought the book I was happy to read it since the use of the language is superb and the utilization of the latent possibili...more
Katherine
“When Louisa Milford smiled she disclosed a sinister jumble of grey teeth like a bouquet of tombstones” (16).
“He was like a big sleek seal sitting barking on its rock, or so Juliet thought. He and Benedict talked, and Louisa and Juliet fed on the scraps of the men’s conversation that fell to them” (16).
“It was a mysterious place, Arlington Park: it was a suburb, a sort of enormous village really, yet even here the force of life came up strong, dealing out its hard facts, its irrepressible, unive...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
I think the best way to judge this book would be to decide whether I'd read another by the same author, and on reflection I would probably try one sometime. It's mostly a character study with no real plot to speak off.

Various thirty something mothers in suburban Arlington Park ramble through a the day pontificating on their trials and tribulations, relationships, children, work, the state of the world, that kind of thing. I was expecting more in the way of unification between the separate thread...more
JonSnow
It took me a while to finish this on account of being busy with university. I enjoyed the book over all. One point of critique is that I found Rachel Cusk used a very excessive amount of metaphors and simile's. This became apparent when I noticed a few on one page and began noticing it as a consistent aspect of her writing. That is not to say the book was bad, more to the point that she compared things using the work "like", like this, like that etc, a lot which could have been improved upon.

The...more
Helen
Sep 25, 2009 Helen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one.
Recommended to Helen by: Bas Bleu
So far I find this book very dark. I'm rather repelled by the words she uses to describe Juliet's unhappiness. It's rather digusting. I think she could have made her point just as well in other terms. At this point I think she has written it this way for the shock value. To say, perhaps, that her writing is more articulate, genuine than other books about this same subject.

I almost closed the book after the cockroach dream (and one too many references to it afterward) but then decided to see it...more
Nathalie Gauthier
Des "Beautés désespérées" made in England qui auraient des états d'âme. Arlington Park propose une journée dans la vie de femmes vivant à proximité les unes des autres. On les suit du matin jusqu'au soir dans leur quotidien passant de l'une à l'autre. Un microcosme, comme une fourmilière que l'on aurait le loisir d'observer, d'écouter. Des destins croisés. Banalités et quotidiennetés. Questionnements et regrets. Une plume qui trace efficacement les humeurs de ces dames, leurs caractéristiques ta...more
gwen
The story follows a handful of British woman, trapped and desperate in their suburban existences, over the course of a single day. There are echoes of Virginia Woolf in here somewhere -- the stream of consciousness, the focus on women -- and I found Rachel Cusk's writing very effective and sometimes absolutely gorgeous.

With a few exceptions, the story was unremittingly bleak, with one of the women asserting (convincingly) that her husband had murdered her by marrying her and moving her out to t...more
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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...
The Country Life A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother The Lucky Ones The Bradshaw Variations Saving Agnes

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“She wondered whether the books she loved consoled her precisely because they were the manifestations of her own isolation.” 5 likes
“They walked in straight lines that the dogs scribbled all over.” 1 likes
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