June 2020

This month’s book was Outline by Rachel Cusk, the first in a trilogy. Rachel Cusk, was born in Canada and now lives and works in England. She has, in her career to date, won both the Whitbread First Novel and Somerset Maugham Awards.
Outline is narrated by Faye. A recently divorced writer who is travelling to Greece to teach a writing class. That simplistic premise belies the complexity of this novel. A claim that will no doubt be refuted by those who thought it a boring progression of self-absorbed individuals unburdening themselves in one-sided conversations where the narrator’s role seems to be that of passive conduit, rather than participant. She becomes an outline only, if you like.

This reader found it quite unnerving. Inhuman almost. It is also what made this novel such a compelling read.
The first conversation is that with her neighbour on the plane. A much married character who reappears, unlike most of the other conversants, at regular intervals throughout the book. He brings to mind the stereotypical Greek tycoon (cue Aristotle Onassis) even though he is no longer a rich man. It is this conversation that sets the book’s tone. A series monologues about relationships: parents, children and especially partners and wives.

Apart from the “tycoon”, through Faye we meet, in classrooms, restaurants and bars, a progression of characters who are, for the most part, involved in the industry of writing. Students, publishers, novelists and poets. Throughout these encounters, Cusk manages to imbue her description of both person and place with an eye for detail and some beautifully restrained prose. She is a deceptively masterful writer.
Although we did not all agree on the merits of this book, as a whole we did find it quite a unique read. The New Yorker labels it as a “gut-renovation” of the novel.

Ratings: Claudia and Kim 4; Margie, Di, Gail, Janet, Viv, Nicola, Jenny and Pauline 3; Sandy 3.5 and Lynda 2.5.

Our next meeting will be at Preece House on 13/07/20 at 6:30PM to discuss The Weekend by Charlotte Wood.

Hope to see you all there and happy reading!

 

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

Preece HouseWe normally meet at the 1948 heritage Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops. This venue has no toilet but here’s one in the park) on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. excluding Public Holidays. A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2020 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device, switch to desktop view.

CONTACT DETAILS

We meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month at the heritage listed Preece House located at Bischof Park, Nerang Street (next corner White St), Nerang next door to shops at 54 Nerang Street. While the Covid19 restrictions are on, we will meet online. Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.

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