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(Outline #3)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,876 ratings  ·  735 reviews
Rachel Cusk, the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Outline and Transit, completes the transcendent literary trilogy with Kudos, a novel of unsettling power.

A woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity are rising to the surface and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal. Within th
Published May 3rd 2018 by Vintage Digital
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Silly String I read Transit before Outline and didn't feel lost, but I read Outline immediately after because I loved Transit. Plot isn't that important in these b…moreI read Transit before Outline and didn't feel lost, but I read Outline immediately after because I loved Transit. Plot isn't that important in these books, I say you can definitely jump in and read them as stand-alones. (less)

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Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, 2018-read
Nominated for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018
Welcome to my Goodreads review of a novel that mocks Goodreads reviews! :-) (More about that later.) "Kudos" is largely dialogue-driven and set in the world of literary festivals and book marketing - and while Cusk only alludes to the events and places where she does actually take us, I think I solved some of her riddles. But let me start by outlining (haha, sorry) the story:

Faye, a writer and divorced mother of two (just like Cusk; Faye is also the protago
Gumble's Yard
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I met with a number of my Goodreads acquaintances – to share with them my thoughts on the concluding part of Rachel's trilogy of books, a book now shortlisted for the 2018 Goldsmith Prize.

The first to speak was Meike – she was very keen, she said, to understand my views on the book. She herself was a dog lover from a European country, but could read books in at least two other languages including English. She could not she said, tell us, which country she came from or which languages she spoke,
In the comments section of my review of Transit, the second book in Rachel Cusk's trilogy, I found myself recklessly reassuring a reader (who had chosen not to pursue the trilogy) that it wasn't essential reading. Afterwards, I wondered what I'd meant by 'essential reading', and George Eliot popped into my head. Had I meant the classics then? But no, I don't think I'd box the so-called 'classics' together under the label 'essential'. So what kind of book would I place in my essential box, were I ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. What power this author has. I’d not read anything by Cusk before this, though part of her trilogy had been noted on my to-read list. She is another thoroughly unique and powerful Canadian voice now hailing from the British Isles. What about that last scene? Is that a statement completely in tune with the state of the world today? Or not?

I cannot speak to what the book means in the larger trilogy, and can’t even speak to what this book means outside of the trilogy. It is just a fantastic rea
Adam Dalva
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slight dip from the trilogy's high point, TRANSIT, and in many ways a return to the more oblique, far-off storytelling of book one, OUTLINE. Here, plot is stretched to the very limit of inaction (we find, very, very obliquely, that the lead has been re-married, we never resolve any of the threads of parts 1 and 2), and the conversations increasingly dwell on the nature of fame, literature, and gender. It was, perhaps, just a bit too far for me, and I found myself missing the suspense and chara ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it

By the time I have come to the third volume of Cusk’s trilogy I am very comfortable with her self-effacing narrator, Faye, whose name is mentioned only once in each of the three novels. Faye is a writer who engages in teaching and participates in writer’s congresses and the like and who becomes an amanuensis to the various people (mostly in the world of publishing and writing) that she encounters as she travels (and indeed this third volume begins as her first, with a conversation with the neigh
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2018

This is the third part of the trilogy that started with Outline and Transit, and was an obvious choice when I was asked for hardbacks I might like as a birthday present.

This has more in common with Outline, in that its settings are literary events abroad, and it starts with a conversation on a plane. Once again the narrator Faye only offers occasional glimpses of her own life, and the focus is largely on the people she talks to, who are mostly writers or
Elyse  Walters
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The other day, he said, my son and I were talking about politics, and he observed that in the current situation the possibility of destruction seemed genuinely to be upon us, to the extent that he couldn’t see what move on the chess board would get us out at this corner. I replied that this was something all of us had felt in our turn, as we passed into adulthood and recognized the role of outside events in shaping history and their capacity to interfere in and change our lives, which until now ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I finished this and I'm still thinking about it. On the one hand, very little happens, but on the other hand, that's kind of my jam.

I found myself wishing I read it in paper instead of through the Libby app because I would have been able to better absorb it with better line breaks or other formatting, I think.

Amidst all the discussions seems to be a theme of freedom, how it's not what you think, how personal freedom is overrated because of what you give up, etc. I marked a few of those passages
Jonathan Pool
This is my sixth Cusk novel, and completes the Outline ‘trilogy’
I have been enthusiastic enough about Rachel Cusk’s writing to greet a new release as an exciting prospect; furthermore many respected Goodreads friends rate Cusk very highly.
That said,I was starting to have some doubts when I read Transit

I didn’t enjoy Kudos one little bit, and my sense of foreboding set in early.
"He wore new-looking leather shoes on his feet”(3) 
Where else would he wear his new (looking)leather shoes?!

Kudos is mad
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
3+ stars

Kudos started off really strong, but then it petered out. It is the third book in a trilogy. While I haven’t read the previous books, my understanding is that this isn’t a problem. The books are linked by concept rather than by plot. The narrator in Kudos is an author attending a writers’ event in Germany. The narrator recounts the numerous conversations she has on the way and at the event. The conversations are fairly one sided— the narrator reveals little of herself while absorbing gob
Paul Fulcher
'Faye', he said fractiously, 'will you just listen?'

The final part of one of the most important series of novels of the 21st century to date and now shortlisted - as were the previous two in the trilogy - for the Goldsmiths Prize.

In 1911 the photographer Herbert Ponting joined Captain Scott's, ultimately ill-fated, Terra Nova Expedition, the first professional to join an Antarctic expedition.

He didn't go on to the later, fatal, part of the journey over the ice-fields to the South Pole since, as
Julie Ehlers
What's the problem here? After loving Outline, I wasn't super enthused about Transit, and I may have liked Kudos even less. The magical feeling I had wandering around Greece in Outline has definitely not been replicated in these later volumes in the trilogy. Is it the change of setting? The fact that some of the characters our protagonist, Faye, speaks with in Transit and Kudos are completely random and therefore it makes no sense that they would open up to her as extensively as they do? Is it t ...more
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My five star rating is more for the entire trilogy as a whole, for after reading the three volumes back-to-back-to-back, I really consider it to be one book, since there are few distinguishing characteristics for the separate volumes. But this book, like Outline, is really more of a 4 star - I was slightly disappointed that there WAS no real epiphany - or even much of a conclusion - at the end, but then realized that would somewhat have defeated the purpose of the books' 'annihilated perspective ...more
Roger Brunyate
Déjà vu, with Gleams of Light

A writer sits on a plane on her way to a literary festival in Southern Europe. The man next to her has difficulty fitting into his seat. She switches with him, and soon is listening to him talk about problems with his family dog and his feelings about his daughter, who is playing the oboe in a concert where he is now headed. Wait a minute—is this not how Rachel Cusk began Outline, the first book in what one might call her "Absence Trilogy"? Yes indeed; I found the r
There are books that you get and books that you don't. But starting with Book 3 of 3 was probably not the smartest way to help me understand this book. I felt like I have just endured the longest conversations with people I don't know, am not invested in and quite frankly didn't give a damn about. The protagonist is an author, she flies out to another country for a literary conference. The guy next to her on the plane basically does not shut up the whole time. When she lands, I am not sure where ...more
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, 2018-goldsmiths
UPDATE: Now re-read after its inclusion on the Goldsmiths short list. This means I have now read the whole of the trilogy (Outline, Transit, Kudos) twice.

The first time I read this, it was immediately after a back-to-back re-read of the first two parts of the trilogy i.e. I read the whole trilogy in one go without any books in between. I have to acknowledge that I liked this book less on my re-read when I read it apart from the other two volumes. I found myself getting a bit cross about some str
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It might be because it’s the start of Daylight Savings Time, but this book left me tired. It’s far from an easy read, though it reads easily despite some occasional tedium. It’s written in the same style as its two predecessors—that is, monologues (including a nested story-within-a-story) by various characters told to the narrator—yet I found Kudos different than the other two, especially Transit. I think I was expecting more Transit but got more Outline, in particular with the (dis)appearance o ...more
Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This third and final part of Cusk’s Outline trilogy builds on the previous parts. Again writer Faye is the patient listener to a procession of seemingly random people who open up their live and soul to her with disconcerting candidness, throwing all their misery on the table and hesitantly analysing themselves. Again we learn very little about Faye herself, although she occasionally makes a comment from which a tiny bit of information can be deduced (including that she has been remarried). This ...more
Lee Klein
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started wonderfully. I kept saying "this is great" aloud as I read the parts about the countess in Italy and her writer's retreat (I'm 95% sure I know who it's based on). Loved the part with the editor talking about successful novelists who've figured out how to write what are essentially enjoyable entertainments that suggest the literary tradition -- the suggestion itself is all readers can really handle now, like a few antiques in an otherwise modern home (something like that). Loved the inter ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final installment to the acclaimed trilogy by Rachel Cusk, Kudos mirrors much of the path of the two previous novels, as we follow our protagonist Faye on her day-to-day life. What sets the trilogy apart and what earned it its recognition and praise is the fact that while we have a narrator in the first person, we are not entirely inside her thoughts but are instead presented to the ideas and point of views of every other character she comes into contact with, only rarely hearing from the 'm ...more
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
"As it happened I was no longer interested in literature as a form of snobbery or even of 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."—Rachel Cusk, Outline

My personal reviewing guidelines include: if yo
Katia N
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The character is sitting by this river just looking at the shapes the dark and light make on the water, and at the weird shapes of what might be fish beneath the surface, there for a second and then gone again, and he realises that he’s looking at something he can’t describe using the language. And he sort of gets the feeling that what he can’t describe might be the true reality. “

This is the last part of Rachel Cusk’s experimental trilogy. It is the most dense - i could not read it fast and wa
Roman Clodia
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And it was of course true. she added, that few notable women were ever really recognised, or at least not until they had been judged to be no longer a public danger by having become old or ugly or dead.

As the third part of Cusk's Outline trilogy, this is still interesting and absorbing but we have lost the hit-you-in-the-face innovation of the first part where Cusk's experiment with an occluded narrator was so novel. In terms of form, this is more of the same as Faye remains only a slightly more
Mat C Sharp
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This is the last part of Faye's trilogy, a heroine we get acquainted with without really knowing things about her directly. It seems that Cusk manages to construct and develop a character masterfully only by the character's interaction with other people.
The Faye we know and love continues to grow. I can't tell if she finds purpose in life, but who's to say there is one. She tries to define and reinvent herself in a world where a woman's place has to be earned. Her ageing process brings clarity a
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly my favorite novel of the year (so far?).
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
The Greek word “kudos” was a singular noun that had become plural by a process of back formation: a kudo on its own had never actually existed, but in modern usage its collective meaning had been altered by the confusing presence of a plural suffix, so that “kudos” therefore meant, literally, “prizes”, but in its original form it connoted the broader concept of recognition or acclaim, as well as being suggestive of something which might be falsely claimed by someone else.

Unlike with Outline
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kudos is the Greek word for glory, fame, renown. We all want to have a feeling of worth, get some praise. Something that says we are doing something right. Sometimes.

In the third part of the trilogy, Faye is off to an unnamed European capital for a literary conference. From the hints she drops, it sounds like Lisbon (the egg custard tarts are a give away). Typical to her other books, she meets a host of characters that all give their opinion to the running themes of women, men, marriage, divorce
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this last volume of Cusk's trilogy (the first two being Outline and Transit), the issues of these novels (including the purpose of suffering, child rearing, marriage--and divorce--and identity) are once again explored through the use of conversations. In this novel, our heroine, author Faye (we never learn her last name and her first only occasionally appears) is in Europe at some undisclosed location (perhaps Portugal) at some kind of literary festival.

One of my favorite passages concerns a
Jaclyn Crupi
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have delayed reading this as I have not wanted the trilogy to end. It has been one of the most interesting reading experiences of my life. I hated the first half of OUTLINE only to fall in love hard with the second half, validating my rule of finishing every book I start. TRANSIT was a revelation to me and picked up where OUTLINE left off and now KUDOS has given the perfect conclusion. Cusk has done something truly spectacular with this trilogy.
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The Mookse and th...: 2018 Goldsmiths Prize shortlist - Kudos 71 87 May 02, 2019 05:38AM  

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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 (4 books)
  • Outline
  • Transit
  • Rachel Cusk Collection: Outline, Transit and Kudos

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