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A contraluz

(Outline #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  15,547 ratings  ·  2,234 reviews
Una escritora inglesa llega a Atenas en pleno verano para impartir unos cursos de escritura. Durante su estancia en la capital griega, la gente que va encontrándose
decide sincerarse con ella y contarle aspectos importantes sobre sus propias vidas.
En el calor sofocante de la ciudad, los diferentes interlocutores confiesan sus amores, sus ambiciones y miedos a la narradora,
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 2016 by Libros del Asteroide (first published September 14th 2014)
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Helen Jacoby I suspect they got divorced, but I don't think we really know.
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3.58  · 
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 ·  15,547 ratings  ·  2,234 reviews

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Damn you, Rachel Cusk. This book was absolutely infuriating. As I was reading it, I kept telling myself that I hated it. And so, I burned through it in a a little more than 24 hours. It bears little resemblance to any other novel I've ever read. The characters seem vague and unformed, but they come through with periodic startling observations about life and human nature that hit me like a punch in the stomach. The "star system" here on Goodreads is totally useless for this book. (Yeah, it's prob ...more
Violet wells
Reading Outline is like spying on an author in the process of auditioning characters for a future novel. In other words it is indeed an outline, an outline for a work that it still shadowy in the writer’s mind. Cusk interviews her potential characters and lets them tell her emotionally pivotal stories about themselves. She makes no other dramatic demands of them. They become like a Greek chorus of voices without a play.

A writer, unnamed until the penultimate chapter, travels to Athens to host a
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, inglese
Quale magnifica lettura mi ha donato Rachel Cusk!
Un libro perfettamente naturale, che non mostra né gli ingranaggi della teoria né lo sforzo di essere contemporaneo e che finisce per essere un libro molto contemporaneo e non estraneo alla teoria.


Inizia su un aereo in volo da Heathrow ad Atene.
L’io narrante è una scrittrice, divorziata madre di due figli, che viene coinvolta in una conversazione dal suo vicino, un sessantenne greco discendente di una ricca famig
Julie Ehlers
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
In Outline, a writer named Faye (perhaps not unlike Rachel Cusk herself) travels to Athens for a few days to lead a writing workshop. Along the way, she engages in conversations with several people--her seatmate on the plane, other teachers and students in the workshop, friends she meets up with, friends those friends have brought along, et cetera. Sometimes Faye listens to these people without comment, sometimes she challenges them, sometimes she reveals something about herself. That's all. The ...more
While I'm reading a book, I'm often aware that my perception of time gets a little warped because story time can run much faster than the time it takes to read it. This imbalance can leave me a bit disoriented when I lay the book down and adjust to the fact that it's still the same day as when I began reading though years may have gone by for the characters among whom I've spent the last hour or two.

While reading this book, on the other hand, real time passed much faster than story time. And st
Elyse Walters
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The protagonist is a British novelist, who goes to Greece for one week, to teach creative writing. She, *Faye*, is divorced, and has 2 sons who stayed back in London.
That’s about all we know of her for awhile. Actually we never learned her name until late in the book. We are slowly piecing together stories about Faye.

The uniqueness of this novel is cerebral and gorgeous.

Before the narrator even arrives in Athens, she engages in an intriguing-intimate conversation with an older man sitting next
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars-books
5 “pristine, refreshing, clear” stars.

2016 Bronze Award - Third Favorite Read (Tie)

I am a man that resides in the world of emotion. They are here with me always and are always acute, not in the background. Emotions often make me soar to the heavens or shiver in delight, but other times they make me flounder, weigh me down like the experience of walking in the cold snow with a hole in my boot that leaves my precious foot frigid and lonely.

I am unsure why the last paragraph came to my consciousn

Although I've read this in English I thought that the title for the Spanish translation suited the novel better then the original. Contraluz, that translates literally as 'backlighting' but whose meaning is something like 'against the light' fitted better this novel in which an English woman, who travels to Athens to teach writing to Greek pupils, leaves behind a shaded world to face her life and herself against the Aegean sun.

This novel is loaded with material. Gender is prominent: women, women
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 21-ce, fiction, uk
Mellifluous with a beautifully honed thematic core. The tone nimbly alternates between black despair and forlornness and subtle humor. If E.M. Forster excelled at intrusive narrators, always commenting on events, Rachel Cusk’s narrator here might be called unintrusive for the way she hangs back and let’s others speak. One of the walking wounded herself, her damage manifests itself in a kind of unquestioning passivity. She’s going through the motions.

The narrator is an unnamed divorced woman, Eng
Julie Christine
To call this a novel would seem to restrict it to a convention of style, to set up expectations of narrative rhythm and form. Outline, so aptly named, is a sketchbook of lives, charcoal drawings of souls captured in profile.

The book is series of conversations delivered with a twanging chord of tension and self-interest. Or really, it's a collection of confessions delivered to a listener who reciprocates only rarely; she is an ear, an eye, a filter; less participant than sponge.

The subject of the
Nikos Tsentemeidis
«Το γεγονός ότι ο κόσμος νιώθει υποχρεωμένος να χρησιμοποιεί τα αγγλικά με κάνει να νιώθω έως και ενοχή, τι κομμάτι του εαυτού του πρέπει να αφήσει κανείς πίσω του σ’ αυτή τη μετάβαση από τη μια γλώσσα στην άλλη, σαν τους ανθρώπους που τους διατάζουν να εγκαταλείψουν τα σπίτια τους και να πάρουν μαζί τους μόνο τα απολύτως απαραίτητα».

Πολύ ενδιαφέρον βιβλίο, σύγχρονη λογοτεχνία, χωρίς πλοκή, αλλά θέτει επίκαιρους προβληματισμούς.
Justin Evans
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My wife used to read the TLS 'books of the year' edition and use it to choose books she wanted to get. Then, one fateful year, everyone recommended a certain book; she purchased it in expensive hardcover, read it in a day, and was completely flummoxed. The book was garbage. What to make of this?

She decided that the U.K. publishing scene is so small and (her word) incestuous that they just read the same five books and then talked about them for a week before moving on. She no longer looks to the
Joseph Burgess
Rachel Cusk is obviously a writer of tremendous talent, and "Outline" doesn't hide her skills.

But I found this book to be lacking. The premise, on its face, is interesting: a series of conversations the narrator has with people she meets on her week in Athens that helps show the wide disparity of "outlines" and shapes of people's lives. It sounds existential and philosophical and hip and like half of all of the other novels that are coming out right now.

For the most part, the book executes its
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 second volume Transit 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 this first volume.

There was so little interface between inside and outside, so little friction

Sometimes .. the loss of transit
I read the first 66 pages before setting this aside. I didn’t dislike the writing; I even found it quite profound in places, but there’s not enough story to peg such philosophical depth on. This makes it the very opposite of unputdownable. Last year I read the first few pages of Cusk’s Aftermath, about her divorce, and found it similarly detached. In general I just think her style doesn’t connect with me. I’m unlikely to pick up another of her books.

A few lines I appreciated:

“As it happened I wa
Joachim Stoop
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Rather 4,25.

Phew, this is something else! There is some of the best writing in it, but because of the lack of story AND abundancy of stories it was a tough read. There is at the same time nothing and too much going on. It is a rather new and fresh take on storytelling (altough it reminded me of Jenny Offill, Valeria Luiselli, Miranda July and especially Ben Lerner).
It is so dense and deep that you really have to stay 100% concentrated all the time. Often, I was enjoying a certain episode, anecd
Diane Barnes
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book to review because of its strange nature. Not really a novel in terms of plot (there really isn't one), it is instead an account of conversations with others, mostly strangers, involving a recently divorced mother of two sons who has come to Athens for a few days to teach a writing course. As she recounts these conversations and their settings, a few facts from her own circumstances emerge.

This doesn't sound like much to base a novel on, but as I read, I began to realize
Nothing much really happens in Outline. A writer, Faye, goes to Athens to teach an English-language writing workshop. She befriends the man sitting next to her on the plane, who tells her of his failed marriages. The stories Faye hears - from this man, from her co-teacher, from her students and friends - make up the narrative, and in between we learn a little of her own life. So it's not terribly eventful, and there certainly isn't a plot, but the characters' conversations are fascinating, havin ...more
Roger Brunyate
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
He was describing, in other words, what she herself was not: in everything he said about himself, she found in her own nature a corresponding negative. This anti-description, for want of a better way of putting it, had made something clear to her by a reverse kind of exposition: while he talked she began to see herself as a shape, an outline, with all the detail filled in around it while the shape itself remained blank. Yet this shape, even while its content remained unknown, gave he
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: PW 10/27/14
Shelves: read2019, ebooks, hoopla
Hardly anything happens in this book but I really enjoyed reading the conversations and insights about life and connection, and the setting is pretty great too. Some of those are marked from the Kindle version I read.

It's funny, I saw a review for this in Publishers Weekly back in 2014, and I would pick it up at the library and look at it and always decide not to read it. It was hard to understand the point. Then several reading friends with good taste loved it. Then Kudos, technically the third
The third volume of the trilogy of which Outline is first is what introduced me to Cusk. I am kind of astonished I’ve not been badgered about her constantly—she is so funny, so illuminating, so exacting. My enthusiasm for Kudos prompted GR friends to insist I read the three-books-in-one so I picked up Outline.

I’m pleased I read the third book first. It is even better than the first by orders of magnitude, though I’d feared I’d begin to see the seams if I read all three books at once. Never mind.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una voce narrante ci regala momenti di una settimana trascorsa ad Atene. Di lei sappiamo che è divorziata, ha due figli e parte da Londra per insegnare scrittura creativa. Nessuna indicazione sul suo aspetto fisico, appena qualche squarcio della sua vita privata, il nome, Faye, nell’ultimo capitolo.
Il suo ruolo è quello di osservare e ascoltare. Sembra possedere una capacità innata di spingere i suoi interlocutori ad aprirsi e a parlare di sé. E i personaggi che attraverso i suoi incontri conos
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To live as a detection device in the middle of a busy street is a legitimate choice - and a tempting one to make. To observe the world as it leisurely unfolds without your interference means to avoid the difficulties of constant selection. If you are just a passive receiver, all bits of the ceaseless flow of information fit your narrative; there's no need to shape them in accordance with your purposes. In exchange for cohesion you get all kinds of bypassing, unfinished, often interesting stories ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I’ve been reading a lot of late-19th-century writing and something told me to take at least a short break, so I requested this from the library. While its prose is intelligent and impressive, I thought of abandoning the book early on. Eventually the structure, which is its main element, grew on me. To fully understand the meaning behind the structure (and the title), you need to read to the end.

The narrator—referenced by name once only—is a great listener, as well as a passive one. The mostl
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Σίγουρα μία καλή αρχή. Ωστόσο υπάρχει μια έλλειψη αληθοφάνειας σε κάποια σημεία. Το γεγονός οτι όλοι αυτοί οι άγνωστοι αποφασίζουν να ανοιχτούν τόσο πολύ στην αφηγητρια, δεν δικαιολογειται από όπου κι αν το πιάσεις. Καταλαβαίνω ότι ήθελε να το κάνει για να μιλήσει στον αναγνώστη για πολλά θέματα τα οποία προφανώς δεν μπορούσαν να συμβούν σε έναν μόνο άνθρωπο αλλά κάπως ξενίζει. Η γραφή της όμως και ο τρόπος που επιλέγει να μιλήσει για την μοναξιά και τις σχέσεις με κέρδισαν οπότε δεν στάθηκα σε ...more
Roman Clodia
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extraordinary - review to come tomorrow.

In Book 3 of his Metamorphoses, Ovid retells the stories of Narcissus and Echo (joined for the first time, I think, by Ovid) and it was this dual story that kept pulsing through my mind while reading Outline: issues of narcissism and self-abnegation, of mirrors and reflections, of voices and gender and appearing/disappearing bodies (the latter female) form a subtle, allusive, elusive but nagging parallel that links these
Scrittrice nobilmente referenziata. Ero curioso. Parziale delusione.
Cominiciamo dal titolo italiano (in originale è “Outline”): una volta tanto, mi pare azzeccato. Il tono è proprio quello: un resoconto. Puntuale (aderente al punto), fino al didascalismo. E potrebbe tendere ad irritare se non fosse che la scrittura è ineccepibile, elegante. Se didascalie sono, illustrano perfettamente la foto di gruppo che sta dentro il romanzo. Per esempio la pagina sulla condivisione e sulla fine della realtà
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
çok beğendim. şimdi yazarın aynı karaktere yazdığı ikinci kitap geçiş’e başlayacağım.
atina’ya yaratıcı yazarlık dersi vermeye giden faye’in uçakta yan koltukta tanıştığı adamla başlıyor roman. tanıdıkları, tanıştıkları, öğrencileri hep bir şeyler anlatıyor ama bu anlatılanlar sanki yeni tanıştığımız birinin kendisini anlatması kadar doğal, açık ve aslında kısacık roman insana dair her şeyi anlatıyor.
faye’in tarafsızlığı, yorumsuzluğu ustalıkla verilmiş. sanki bir kayıt cihazı, dinliyor, kaydedi
Jan 11, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like watching paint dry without the action of having paint run down the wall. This felt like reading a languid MFA paper by the precocious pet student. Forced to read this because Paris Review in its infinite wisdom published the novel over four issues in 2013-2014. I stopped reading in the third installment.
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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)
  • Transit
  • Kudos
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“As it happened, I was no longer interested in literature as a form of snobbery or even self-definition. I had no desire to prove that one book was better than another; in fact, if I read something I admired, I found myself increasingly disinclined to mention it at all. What I knew personally to be true had come to seem unrelated to the process of persuading others. I did not, any longer, want to persuade anyone of anything.” 48 likes
“What Ryan had learned from this is that your failures keep returning to you, while your successes are something you always have to convince yourself of.” 32 likes
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