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(Outline #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  6,084 ratings  ·  813 reviews
The stunning second novel of a trilogy that began with Outline, one of The New York Times Book Review’s ten best books of 2015.

In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions—personal, moral, artistic, practical—as she endeavors to construct a new reality for herself and her
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 29th 2016)
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Judy Barron If you didn't like Outline, you probably won't like this one. I, however, love them both and can't wait for the third. Cusk's writing is brilliant.
Deborah yes, I read transit first, and then Kudos, and lastly, Outline. Transit was the best, imo. Although they all are written in the same style, which is…moreyes, I read transit first, and then Kudos, and lastly, Outline. Transit was the best, imo. Although they all are written in the same style, which is by offering "other" peoples stories to the Narrarators ear, and the questions she asks them. It's sort of like making a character for all the different parts of yourself, or your concerns, and then reversing the traditional narrative of "i", although I believe all of her characters stories, were stories she herself wanted to tell about herself. I realize in literary circles she is considered brilliant, but if you really analyze her work, it's a literary device. Her sentences are very intellectual and carefully chosen. And, all of her "characters" stories are all told in the same voice like hers. Which is one of the reasons some people find the work monotonous?(less)

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I watched as the reader glanced up from the page, sat for a moment without moving, then closed the book.
"That episode about the dog," she said, turning to me, "the episode where the creative writing student succeeded in conveying to the class that his dog was beautiful even though he didn't know how to explain it initially. What exactly did you intend in that episode?"

I asked what she thought I had intended.

"Well, I'm inclined to think you were making a point about the old 'show versus tell' c
Elyse Walters
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Transit” - book 2 - in the “Ouline Series”, was so incredibly magnificent from the start —that by the first touch of my finger turning my ebook Kindle page to the next - still only 1% read - half way down the page my eyes were watering.

After I read these words ( after the ‘already’ eye catching - ears popping - very noticeable opening first sentence on the page before), these next set of words destroyed me, enlightened me, gifted me, putting me into an almost hypnotized trance space —— for mos
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of laughter and thinking
Recommended to Jaidee by: Rachel Cusk's superb novel Outline
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 "refreshing, uproarious, precise" stars !!!

7th Favorite Read of 2018 Award

In 2016 I read Outline, the first in this trilogy by Ms. Cusk and was blown away by her prose, her train of thought and the clarity of her understandings. I wanted and needed more of her prose pronto and that book was my Bronze award of the year !

I was looking for more of the same in this sequel but was not prepared for a very different sort of book. Instead of pristine distillations of thinking and insight I was imm
Adam Dalva
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this - an improvement on Outline. It has the same intensely observed, rigorous sequence of encounters, but here, the stakes are slightly higher, as our lead buys a flat (set up in part 1), goes on a date, and struggles with downstairs neighbors. When tension and curiosity are added in to Cusk's extreme talent, the result is a book I flew through. It WORKS as a part 2, but would also, surprisingly, function as a stand alone.
It is strange, I suppose, for me to describe this trilogy of books as though they were thrillers, but they acted that way upon my consciousness. I read them out of order, 3-1-2, so I will discuss the totality of them in recognition of their separateness. There was a propulsiveness to the story as told by Faye, writer and teacher, former wife and current mother, and narrator of these three slim volumes. These easily contain some of the best writing I have enjoyed for many years.

The perspective in
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This continues the pattern started in its predecessor Outline. Once again the narrator Faye remains something of a blank cipher and most of the story is generated by the people she talks to, a shifting cast that allows Cusk to cover a wide range of subjects, experiences and situations. There is a bit more of Faye's own life in this one as she moves back to London and deals with builders and difficult neighbours, but for the most part the observational pattern is maintained.

As always the writing
Violet wells
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Always happy to read Rachel Cusk even though I'm still to love any of her books without reservations. Her early novels now all blur together in my mind. There was often a sense that the conventions of plot she chose were stifling her gifts as a writer. They were usually beautifully written and observed novels but showed little special flair for narration, their reach like a day out rather than a three week adventure holiday. The book of hers I most enjoyed was her account of a family trip to Ita ...more
Julie Ehlers
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Rachel Cusk’s dreamlike Outline, about a writer’s trip to Greece in the aftermath of a divorce, was one of my favorite novels of 2015. Wandering in the languid heat of Athens, the main character, Faye, is something of an empty vessel, less supplying her own narrative than simply listening to the stories of the people around her—but all of these stories, viewed through Faye’s eyes, are about her just as much as they are about the students, dinner companions, and fellow travelers who pass through ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am one of the few readers of GR to have found this book just of a paroxysmal boredom.... I finished it and found myself lighter, but can you be so stupid to feel compelled to finish unfit books? I found it a complicated accumulation of events, of characters Sine die et sine logica
and crossing each others as if they were gym drinks to share...
Unfortunately I am not made for these new writers, ( personally) and this conceiving artificial stories with no clue.
I console myself firmly believing tha
Oct 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Is it a novel...

…this sequence of unrelated interludes recounted in an aloof tone of voice? Rachel Cusk’s book opens as the narrator (a writer) moves back to her old London neighbourhood with her two sons, buying an ex-council flat sorely in need of improvement and with a pair of nasty neighbours living below. She bumps into an old boyfriend and they have an unrealistic conversation. She has her starting-to-grey hair tinted for the first time and her hairdresser conducts an unlikely monologue. S
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: Fionnuala
I had found out more, I said, by listening than I ever thought possible.

In this second installment of a trilogy, the narrator Faye (only named once, as she was in the first book, Outline) continues her listening ‘project,’ though with more of letting us into her life. She comes across as emotionless, almost affectless; but there’s no way she is. She just isn’t telling us, or even showing us, how she feels. As with one event in Outline, I supplied the emotion, though it didn’t happen until near t
Sometimes when I come upon a book by chance and not through premeditated research, there is a sense of excitement, as when I read my first books and every book that followed had the potential to be great or a great failure or both. Maybe it's the danger of going outside of any known rubric for selection. Fate looms, as if each book was meant to be stumbled upon at its time and place rather than arrived at through well-manicured avenues.

Whatever the case, it's lead me to great reads before. I onc
Lee Klein
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
There's a great moment in this episodic, suggestive, quasi-memoir in which the narrator Faye is teaching a creative writing class and a dominant, forceful student instructs another that he can't just say his dog is beautiful, he needs to show the dog, evoke it, and the dog owner student guy gets a little flustered and says something like I dunno she's a beautiful dog, and then Faye simply asks what breed it is, and the dog owner student totally naturally unleashes (no pun intended but hey look a ...more
Gumble's Yard
Like many others of my Goodreads friends, I re-read just ahead of the publication of the concluding book of the trilogy which this book commenced. My original review of this and the first volume Outline is below – on this reading I enjoyed finding quotes which summarised for me either Rachel Cusk’s underlying technique in writing the trilogy, or the choice of title for the first two volumes.

In those days he was a sketch, an outline; I had wanted him to be more than he was, without being able to
I finally made it through a Rachel Cusk book! (This was my third attempt; I made it just a few pages into Aftermath and about 60 pages through Outline.) I suspected this would make a good plane read, and thankfully I was right. Each chapter is a perfectly formed short story, a snapshot of one aspect of Faye’s life and the relationships that have shaped her: a former lover she bumps into in London, a builder who tells her the flat she’s bought is a lost cause, the awful downstairs neighbors who h ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Jan 28, 2017 marked it as goldfinch-in-juice
One common marker of the postmodern condition is ahistoricality. Myself (personally), I take a great interest in the history of literature (specializing in post=WWII american fiction (a very narrow range, true)) ;; and I mean it always helps in understanding, for example, any intellectual giant, to trace out the arc of their bio=history (Heidegger's infamous Kehre). Anyways, I'm often terribly struck by how ahistorical are the processes of many folks trying to understand things, like for instanc ...more
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s official, I think Rachel Cusk is a genius. Transit is easily going to be one of the best books I read this year. In short, if you read and loved Outline, this follow up lives up to the high expectations your surely have. Back in London, the conversations the Faye has in this novel really centre on relationships, how we make them and break them, and both love and terrorise each other within their bonds. Underneath all this is a fearful narrative of change. Where many stories centre on our fe ...more
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
It was actually only 3 months ago that I read Outline - the first part of the trilogy of Rachel Cusk. That was a very awkward reading experience due to the dry sequence of conversations of a female writer with a number of friends and strangers, a woman who you only got fragmentary acquaintance with and of which you even heard the name - Faye - only at the end. Both Faye and her conversational partners remained largely sketches, ‘outlines’ (hence title of the book).

Part 2 was given the title "Tra
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
The structure of this book is brilliant. I love how the stories focus on these deep conversations with all the other characters she comes across, and that we only learn about Faye through what she volunteers in these interactions. I do think we learn a lot more about Faye in this book, and it's clever to only use her name once.

I liked Outline well enough, but I think Transit was much more interesting. For me, it was as though in Outline the author explored her ideas about structure and found he
Paul Fulcher
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, goldsmiths-2016
"An astrologer emailed me to say she had important new for me concerning events in my immediate future. She could see things that I could not; my personal details had come into her possession and had allowed her to study the planets for their information. She wished me to know that a major transit was due to occur shortly in my sky. This information was causing her great excitement when she considered the changes it might represent. For a small fee she would share it with me and enable me to tur ...more
Roman Clodia
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt change beneath me, moving deep beneath the surface, like the plates of the earth blindly moving in their black traces.

Volume 2 of Cusk's Outline trilogy and Faye is now back in London. Having moved from bare outline in the first book to something a little more filled in, this develops her story from the paralysis of separation to a state that can at least imagine the possibilities and potentials of change.

Cusk's innovative technique remains the same: we learn about Faye and her life vi
Joachim Stoop
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
As good as the first part in this trilogy, Outline.

Goes against anything you will hear in a basic writing course.

Cusk is a fresh voice in Book Land.

I love her ways!

Btw. Not for everybody
I enjoyed this even more than Outline and could have read another 200 pages. There are subtle things happening here, and the character (Fern? Fran? I've forgotten her name because it is not emphasized) who was a cipher in Outline, who seemed an audience to others, is more present in this novel - but just barely. She speaks more, but even when she barely speaks a word these felt more like conversations than soliloquies. She's more able to hold her own or to offer opinions, but sometimes opts not ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Transit (astronomy) ... In astronomy, the term transit (or astronomical transit) refers to celestial events: A transit occurs when at least one celestial body appears to move across the face of another celestial body, hiding a small part of it, as seen by an observer at some particular vantage point.

Faye is an observer struggling with questions of choice vs fate, what is honesty? what is childhood, how does it shape us as well as her own parenting of her two sons who fight constantly with her an
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update upon 2nd reading, 4/25.2018: Reread in anticipation of completing the trilogy with an initial reading of Kudos. My original review more or less stands: For some reason, perhaps because I am either now used to Cusk's style, or because the stories in Transit seemed more self contained, I did enjoy it slightly more than the first volume. I also realize now that it can, for all intents and purposes, be seen as just a single work, as there doesn't appear to be any real stylistic nor real thema ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
while continuing in the style and ideas cusk created with Outline, a book that i appreciated but didn't love, i found transit offered more emotional depth. we still don't get a whole lot of focus on faye herself, but her interactions and conversations with those she encounters give us more glimpses into faye's life, as well as a some great insights to human nature and relationships. we are so messy and complicated.
Jonathan Pool
I read Outline last week, my first Rachel Cusk, as a precursor to Transit, and as my introduction to the Goldsmiths Prize, a literary competition "designed to reward fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form".
I am not convinced by either Rachel Cusk’s writing in general, nor that Transit, could claim to meet the Goldsmiths criteria for inclusion.
Cusk’s books are a series of short, self contained, stories that hang together because of the presence of the same na
Lucy Dacus
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone told me this one fell short of Outline, but I disagree. I'd recommend taking a healthy break between Outline and Transit so that you don't compare them too much. The book stands on its own as well.
Kasa Cotugno
Despite Faye's being the narrator of this quasi memoir, we only learn about her obliquely, and only learn her name by chance. The facts of her own life are dovetailed in among stories she hears from others she comes into contact with while transitioning into another life (contractor, his workmen, friends, her students). These well rounded characterizations each form a complete portrait.

Cusk writes like no one else, but it would be truer to say this is an unconventional novel rather than an expe
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
An astrologer emailed me to say she had important news for me concerning events in my immediate future. She could see things that I could not; my personal details had come into her possession and had allowed her to study the planets for their information. She wished me to know that a major transit was due to occur shortly in my sky. This information was causing her great excitement when she considered the changes it might represent. For a small fee she would share it with me and enable me to tu
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The Mookse and th...: 2016 Goldsmiths Shortlist: Transit, by Rachel Cusk 19 50 Nov 05, 2016 05:41AM  

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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 8 years old. 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

Other books in the series

Outline (3 books)
  • Outline
  • Kudos
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“What she did learn from all the books was something else, something she hadn't really been expecting, which was that the story of loneliness is much longer than the story of life. In the sense of what most people mean by living, she said. Without children or partner, without meaningful family or a home, a day can last an eternity: a life without those things is a life without a story, a life in which there is nothing - no narrative dramas - to alleviate the cruelly meticulous passing of time.” 11 likes
“Loneliness, she said, is when nothing will stick to you, when nothing will thrive around you, when you start to think that you kill things just by being there.” 8 likes
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