Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk
A Novel

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Synopsis

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 children, and people generally do what's expected of them. It's a world awash in contentment but empty of belief, and riven with strange anxieties. How are they to know right from wrong?  How should they use their knowledge of other people's sufferings? What is the relationship of politics to their own domestic arrangements? 
Set over the course of a single rainy day, the novel moves from one household to another, and through the passing hours conducts a deep examination of its characters' lives: of Juliet, enraged at the victory of men over women in family life; of Amanda, warding off thoughts of death with obsessive housework; of Solly, who confronts her own buried femininity in the person of her Italian lodger; of Maisie, despairing at the inevitability with which beauty is destroyed; and of Christine, whose troubled, hilarious spirit presides over Arlington Park and the way of life it represents. 
Darkly comic, deeply affecting, and wise, Arlington Park is a page-turning imagining of the extraordinary inner nature of ordinary life, by one of Britain's most exciting young novelists.
 

About Rachel Cusk

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Rachel Cusk was born in 1967 and is the author of seven novels: Saving Agnes, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award, The Temporary, The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Lucky Ones, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award, In the Fold and Arlington Park, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and The Bradshaw Variations. Her non-fiction books are A Life's Work and The Last Supper. In 2003 she was chosen as one of Granta's Best of Young Novelists.
 
Published December 26, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 260 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Arlington Park

Kirkus Reviews

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Suburban motherhood is no picnic in this latest examination of intertwined lives from British novelist Cusk (The Lucky Ones, 2004, etc.).

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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In this devastating ensemble novel, Whitbread Award–winner Cusk (Saving Agnes ) exposes the roiling inner lives and not-so-quiet desperation of young mother

Oct 16 2006 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

The New York Times

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The husbands are a problem, but it’s the children these women really can’t stand.

Jan 28 2007 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

The New York Times

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Rachel Cusk scrutinizes the unflattering themes of motherhood through the interconnected stories of five unhappy mothers.

Feb 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

The Guardian

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Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk Faber £14.99, pp240 Novelist Tibor Fischer once noted that Rachel Cusk is particularly adept at treading the line between humour and menace.

Sep 24 2006 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

The Guardian

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Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk 256pp, Faber, £14.99 The refined intelligence of Rachel Cusk's writing, with its exhaustive clarifications, elaborate metaphors and distinctly bitter aroma, may not be everybody's cup of tea, but for those who appreciate that particular blend of qualities, her book...

Sep 16 2006 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Book Reporter

Rachel Cusk, a Whitbread Award winner, has written a number of books about parenting and motherhood, including A LIFE'S WORK: On Becoming a Mother, a serious and somewhat sad look at her changing life.

Jan 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

THE MOTHER LOAD Parenting can be tedious, even depressing, though there aren't many writers who are as candid about it as Cusk tries to be in her new novel

Jan 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

The Independent

There are glimpses of both in this novel, but they are overshadowed by metaphors - of the stage, weight and the microcosmic suburb itself - that are worked to death, characters that verge on caricature and dialogue that's wooden.

Sep 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

USA Today

Arlington Park is one of those disappointing novels in which the author periodically will set off a marvelous display of verbal fireworks that only reinforces how ineffective the rest of the book is.

Feb 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

PopMatters

Through these unhappy housewives, Cusk is taking aim at the privileged class in many ways, often trivializing the characters’ discontents.

Feb 20 2008 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Tricia Springstubb Rocky Mountain News 3.5 of 5 Stars " The microscopic detail of daily life offered here could be excruciating for some readers, but for anyone who enjoys an original and imaginative writing style and wry observations of the way people live, it’s well worth the read."

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Oprah.com

Whether you're taking a vacation around the world or just wish you could, these books will take you on an adventure without your feet ever leaving the ground.

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California Literary Review

but then Arlington Park is as much about relationships between women, and of women to themselves, as it is between the sexes, so perhaps it is fitting that the male characters are indistinct and two dimensional.

Aug 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Arlington Park: A Novel

Reader Rating for Arlington Park
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