Kirsten Tranter reviews 'Kudos' by Rachel Cusk

Kirsten Tranter reviews 'Kudos' by Rachel Cusk

Kudos

by Rachel Cusk

Faber, $29.99 hb, 232 pp, 9780571346646

Kudos concludes the extraordinary trilogy that began with Outline (2014) and Transit (2016). Following the distinctive format of the first two books, Kudos is structured by a series of conversations between the narrator (a writer named Faye, who seems to be a barely disguised version of Cusk) and various interlocutors, in which the narrator herself speaks barely at all. As before, there is nothing much in the way of a traditional plot or narrative. The trilogy’s profound emotional weight exists in strange contrast to the seemingly weightless quality of the prose, translucently clear, somehow communicating deep feeling and loss through a seemingly dispassionate medium. The effect is one of paradoxical intimacy and distance, and a voice like no other in contemporary fiction.

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Published in August 2018, no. 403
Kirsten Tranter

Kirsten Tranter

Kirsten Tranter grew up in Sydney and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of three novels, including Hold (2016), longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Her first novel, The Legacy, was praised by The Guardian as ‘a seductive contemporary literary thriller… a knowing, classy debut’ and was a Kirkus Review début novel of the year; it was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the ABIA literary fiction award, and longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Kirsten completed a PhD in English Literature at Rutgers University in 2008, and publishes essays, journalism, and literary criticism. She is a founder of the Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing.