Fever pitch

A return to familiar themes
by
August 2021, no. 434
Buy this book

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Faber, $27.99 pb, 207 pp

Fever pitch

A return to familiar themes
by
August 2021, no. 434
Rachel Cusk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2015 (photograph by Gary Doak/Alamy)
Rachel Cusk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2015 (photograph by Gary Doak/Alamy)

In Second Place, the narrator, M, reminisces about the time she invited the artist L to stay on her remote property ‘on the marsh’. Fifteen years earlier in Paris, a painting of L’s on a poster advertising a major retrospective of his art had spoken to M of ‘absolute freedom’. She was then ‘a young mother on the brink of rebellion’. The night before she had allowed a famous writer – ‘an egotist, permanently drunk on his own importance’ – to string her along and then dump her unceremoniously once he decided she wasn’t worth the risk. Viewing L’s paintings in the gallery the next morning, M had felt herself ‘falling out of the frame’ of her own life and ‘became distinct from it’.

Melinda Harvey reviews 'Second Place' by Rachel Cusk

Second Place

by Rachel Cusk

Faber, $27.99 pb, 207 pp

Buy this book

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