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Le variazioni Bradshaw

3.2  ·  Rating details ·  368 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
La famiglia Bradshaw non è una famiglia felice.
Thomas ha preso un anno sabbatico per dedicarsi allo studio del pianoforte, sua moglie Tony è totalmente assorbita da un nuovo incarico universitario, e così la loro figlia Alexa, di otto anni, si ritrova silenziosa spettatrice del fallimento di speranze e aspettative che i genitori non riescono più a nascondere. Thomas si sen
Hardcover, Scrittori italiani e stranieri, 240 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Mondadori (first published 2009)
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Nov 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apparently some people deem Rachel Rusk too clever in her books. I get that, somewhat, in her past work, like In the Fold. In that one she brandishes here cleverness with long sentences and very, very long conversations. Here, in her new work, she has tempered such lengthiness, somewhat. Sentences are still long, but for the most part they are now shorter and more immediate in their directness and mood.

Basically her novel is about the lives of the Bradshaw clan, particularly Thomas and his wife
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars. Too short in my opinion.
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Although a little of such stuff goes a long way for me, I do in fact quite enjoy the occasional literary-oriented novel, one that eschews plot developments almost entirely to instead exist as merely a complex character study; take for example veteran character author Rachel Cusk's latest, The Bradshaw Var
I enjoyed "The Bradshaw Variations" but somehow it doesn't hit the spot, because the characters don't have enough space to develop properly. There are so many different voices and viewpoints from the wider Bradshaw family that it's hard to focus on the central narrative of Thomas Bradshaw and his wife Tonie. Thomas has given up his job to allow Tonie to become head of the English department at a lesser university, and (incomprehensibly, so far as their respective parents and siblings are concern ...more
Kasey Jueds
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have loved Rachel Cusk ever since Grace recommended The Country Life to me many years ago, and this novel, her newest, didn't disappoint me. Like the last couple of her books I've read, including Arlington Park, this one deals largely with parenting, with parents trying to hold onto their identities or reinvent themselves after having children... but in a larger sense it's also about people struggling to understand their lives. Everything in Rachel Cusk's books--moments, converstions, pieces o ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
"September is a skewering place, the heart, where the pin of routine is thrust in" (7).
"His heart clenches, just as it does when the music gains its highest note, grasping and grasping out of its own confusion until it reaches its mark and the screw of emotion is turned. The confusion, he sees, is necessary, for it is what the resolution is born from" (9).
"It is steep, so that the bottom looks remote from the top, the hazy geometric spill of buildings levelling out below with its drone of traffi
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought The Bradshaw Variations was an incredibly moving book. Cusk's remarkable way of identifying and describing emotions allowed me to relate to each character in some way. While they were all connected, the characters were also painfully isolated by their own unique circumstances. As Cusk turned the spotlight on each one, I was able to understand Olga's homesickness, Tonie's restlessness, and Thomas's yearn for truth, etc. I hope someone is already writing the screenplay based on this fant ...more
Maya Rock
I like that there are fewer metaphors and the plot moved more briskly than other Cusk books. I also really enjoyed the writing and insights into life. However, I have to say, I am getting tired of the analysis of domestic life. It's one of those situations where she is depicting something that is boring and it makes the book boring. Also, I was enjoying this book much more until it got slotted into "Affairs Only End Badly" and then, even worse, into what should be my new subcategory "Affairs Are ...more
Jim Leckband
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Virginia Woolf fans - you know who you are.
Bad Sign: "She wonders why everyone here is so formless and anonymous. Their bodies look lumpy in the dusk, their faces featureless and indifferent as stones. The lack of excitement almost frightens her." (p. 198)

When a reader reads the above lines and retorts, "Yeah, I know what you mean, I'm kinda there myself now that you mention it..." then there is a problem.

I'm totally willing to man-up (is that the correct usage for "man-up"? I've never really "manned-up" in anything, or been exhorted to
Maya Panika
The style is all; richly metaphorical, terrifically dense and complex - this book should be read for the sheer enjoyment of the beauty of the writing because there isn’t really any story, at heart it’s a character study, a group of normal lives, woven together by the mundane and everyday.

I found the characters got lost in all the writing. They sit in the great web of it, unable to move much under the weight of metaphor which ultimately left a great coldness around them. I never felt any attachm
Bookmarks Magazine
Cusk's searing, incisive novels have earned comparisons to Virginia Woolf's for their astute recreations of women's inner lives as they collide with society's expectations. Unfortunately, most critics concluded that Cusk's seventh novel does not live up to the sum of its parts. Despite vivid characters, crisp prose, and sharp psychological insights, the plot lacks tension, while subplots and minor characters drop from the narrative without explanation, and the Bradshaws seem strangely unconvinci ...more
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited to win this book on Goodreads. The story involves the various crisis within the extended Bradshaw family over the course of a year. The style of writing is rich, detailed, hugely comprehensive and deeply thoughtful but a magnificent style does not ensure that a book will be loved. Given all that: I still was not drawn to the characters. There were so many sinister overtones lurking in every chapter that I felt apprehension turning to the next page. There was no joy in any of the ...more
this was a little gem and maybe I should have rated it more highly only none of the characters are at all likable. As if all of their faults are fully on view and no redeeming qualities are exposed; none. I found I could not say I really liked it but rather appreciated the author's cleverness. I felt it was more revealing for the author rather than her characters. And I won't think about any of them at all now that I finished reading it.

I am slightly curious about her other books but maybe not t
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are bored of plot driven narrative stories and enjoy really getting beneath the skin of a character then this is the novel for you as Rachel Cusk probes our contemporary world and all its mores. Her characters are so well drawn, and their voices so acutely observed, they stay with you, long after you have finished the novel, and demand the reader’s full attention.

Outwardly, the Bradshaws are a very English middle class family enjoying a degree of comfort and respectability but they are a
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Cusk doesn't do plots. What she does do is draw razor-sharp portraits of people and stunningly apt similes. If similes ever become an Olympic event, Great Britain will clean up. This book is a bunch of vignettes of middle-aged middle-class Englishmen and women. Not a lot happens, but she is able to draw you into their lives. Animals tend to fare poorly in Cusk novels, and this book is perhaps the prime example. Never has a pet's death been so hilarious. But this is mostly a book about mar ...more
Shayla O'neil
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The only downside of this book was how long I took to read it. I've head this wonderful book for years and despite the seemingly bland idea, the look into an average family provides a sense of sanity to even the most television worthy disfunctional family.
Uli Vogel
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chronological collection of more or less important incidents of one year in the lives of one extended family. Pretty finely observed and drawn differences in the main characters. All other personage seem like additional props to the developing conflicts.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meditation on family and relationships. Reads like poetry. One of those rare books that isn't "about" anything but is still difficult to put down. I do wish the focus was on one of the family units instead of expanding to the rest of the family members; I think that space could have been better served rounding out and developing some of the individuals. But don't make me choose.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't remember this at all. Hope it was good enough for a mid rating.
There was a lot of hype around this book last year, and I was actually surprised to be able to buy a 1-Euro copy of it on ebay. Usually, the "good" books stay expensive much longer (and I really can't afford to spend 40 Euro on every book I read. You can flame me for this, internets, as you are so keen on doing. *g*)

Anyway, the book. Let's, once more, take a look at what other people said.

Description on back of the book:
"A powerful drama about how the family life we build will always be an echo
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I won this book on a first-reads giveaway and although I think the description on the back cover of the book needs serious attention, I really liked it. I feel apologetic saying that because of the lukewarm response this book as gotten on Goodreads, but I shall not let other reviews color my first impressions.

Usually, I don't like and try to avoid books that are just about stuff. Books that are just about people's lives but are magnificently well written.
Melanie Faith
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lyrical and beautiful prose. I purchased my copy in a bin at a dollar store, so I came to the novel with very few expectations; what I found was a gem of a story. I can see the comparisons to Virginia Woolf's work, although Cusk's prose is a bit more succinct and measured. In Woolf's work as well as Cusk's I felt as if I'd opened a door and plunged not only into the characters' surroundings but also into their inner-most struggles and thoughts. As I read, I couldn't help thinking that many of th ...more
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Cusk has quickly become one my favorite writers of all time! Her language, more than that, her ability to *apply* that language to the muddled sanctity of love, marriage and motherhood, is without compare. There is a poetry and intellect to her observations, steeped in metaphors and allegories, that makes me feel both deeply inadequate as a reader and understood at the same time. Like "Outline," the book doesn't rely on a plot so much as it does a specific marriage, Thomas and Tonie Brads ...more
I expected The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk to be much better than it is. It begins well, and every now and then I thought this is really good, but at times it seems to get lost in itself. It s about the life of a family the Bradshaws, mainly concentrating on Thomas and his wife Tonie over the course of a year. Not a lot happens on the surface but underneath everyone s life is in turmoil and change.[return][return]Thomas is the middle brother. Howard is his older brother, married to Clau ...more
To be honest, I would have never picked up this book had it not been for the Goodreads book giveaway. But now that I've finally gotten around to reading it, I'm glad I did.

The novel was very well written, with numerous lines and passages that stick out as both meaningful and simply interesting. The plot was about family ties, something I've never read about, but was very insightful to say the least. However, I didn't find any of the characters all that likeable. This could be because I couldn't
Oct 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
To be honest I'm not sure why I chose this book. I was in the library and quickly needed something to read off the shelf (usually I think about it more carefully, and order online and pick up from the library several days later), and this sort of jumped out at me. I've read 2 or 3 of Cusk's earlier novels and liked them but I'm currently put off by her terribly dreary writings in the mainstream press. But, is it wrong to be put off someone's books just because you get the impression that they're ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how Rachel Cusk dives straight under the surface of life, and nowhere more so than in this novel, a subtle examination of what it's like to be English and middle class. She creates just enough distance between character and reader that we feel a little like observers from outer space, examining creatures we rather like but are not entirely sure we understand. Full of delicious details that transcend the events and dilemmas of a fairly bourgeois family set up - everything feels sharper, mo ...more
Sarah Maguire
The book is a series of moments in time - or perhaps more moments in the thoughts of - various members of the Bradshaw family, with particular concentration on Thomas Bradshaw and his wife Tonie. The reader is taken along as witness to a selection of fleeting moments, internal insights, and gentle revelations. Any sense of chronological drive feels almost incidental to the words on the page. Each situation is revealing of the inner workings of the mind of its main protagonist and seems to leach, ...more
Jayne Charles
I always know what I’m getting into with a Rachel Cusk novel – lots of high brow musing, a sort of intellectualising of everyday life, and some moments that speak perfect truth about families and the way people interact. This book was no exception. The only difficulty I find is that for every moment of crystal-clarity there are paragraphs of musings that I could not comprehend even if I had several lifetimes in which to ponder over them.

Similar to Arlington Park in its obsessive analysis and fe
Maria Ramos
I was disappointed with this book. I read an excellent essay by the author in Granta and decided to seek out her fiction. It was told from multiple points of view (about 8), and it wasn't obvious what some of these points of view added to the story. All of the characters seemed more or less the same, it had very little narrative arc. There was some very good writing and some keen insights, and it wasn't so bad that I had a hard time finishing it. The main story was about a couple who decides tha ...more
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Rachel Cusk was born in Canada, and spent some of her childhood in Los Angeles, before her family returned to England, in 1974, when Cusk was 8yo. She read English at New College, Oxford.

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 has won and
More about Rachel Cusk...