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

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

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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