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Arlington Park: A Novel

2.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,308 Ratings  ·  191 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 chil ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2006)
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Sep 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, kindle
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
Hannah Young
Jul 19, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Depressed middle-aged women
Shelves: fiction
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
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dominique Bouchard
Les réflexions de ces quatre femmes que l'on rencontre dans le roman transcendent le quotidien de mère au foyer. L'écriture est tellement sensible et réfléchie qu'elle nous imprègne de ce sentiment de mal être des personnages. Elle nous apporte aussi à réfléchir sur l'être humain vs vie de couple vs vie en communauté vs société capitalisme etc. et que petit à petit dans cette ascension, il perd de son authenticité. Mais au profit de quoi? C'est triste mais en même temps universel comme réflexion ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natania, 2009, england
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
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 24, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Feb 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
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
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Hanka ma Psa
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leituras-2015
Completamente no feminino, 5 mulheres amigas, que nós deixam entrar em suas casas, nos seus casamentos, na sua maternidade e nos seus pensamentos mais íntimos.....em que nos revemos em alguns pensamentos e receios, e pensamos afinal não estamos sós.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nedostat tuhle knížku jako dárek, nikdy bych ji nedočetla. I takhle jsem ji přeletěla systémem dvě věty na stránku a o nic jsem nepřišla. Dalo by se to celé shrnout jako "středostavovské paničky s dětmi řeší kokotiny". Nudně napsané, příšerně přeložené, nečtěte to.
Emily Grelle
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"[...] a last panoramic glimpse of the city could be seen below: of its eternal red and yellow lights, its pulsing mechanism, its streets always crawling with indiscriminate life. It was a startling view, thought not a reassuring one. It was too mercilessly dramatic: with its unrelenting activity it lacked the sense of intermission, the proper stops and pauses of time. The story of life required its stops and pauses, its days and nights. It didn't make sense otherwise. But to look at that view y ...more
Rachel Arnold
Jan 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Want to read a book about oversold surrounding descriptions, depressed women and the blame game? Then this is the book for you!

The characters are all mothers who feel they have lost their sense of purpose and life. Over and over again the author blames the men in their lives because they "murdered" them. But never giving any explanation as to how.

The characters clearly have options to change their life and they had options to not lead the lives down the paths they did. But instead of mentionin
Barbara Klein
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The best chapter in this book contains a description of a suburban Mall, its canned music, canned air and cheesey stores. Loved her description which mirrors my own reaction to malls and that feeling of being suspended in aspic, moving in slow motion, in a half dead place. But this novel doesn't go anywhere. Her characters, mostly young mothers, feel one dimensional, either breeders or thinkers and strivers. A disappointment since I've been on a Rachel Cusk roll, having just finished Aftermath a ...more
Taylor Napolsky
I loved Cusk's novel Outline, so I thought I'd go back and read one of her previous titles. I'm glad I read it, because I like to see her development, but she definitely landed on something unique and special later in her career.

This book is enjoyable when the action gets going, and there are some cutting conversations...but the narrative moves too slow. Too many endless descriptions of landscapes and objects makes it a slog. Also, there's an unnecessarily high number of characters. It doesn't f
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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...
“She wondered whether the books she loved consoled her precisely because they were the manifestations of her own isolation.” 11 likes
“They walked in straight lines that the dogs scribbled all over.” 3 likes
More quotes…