Monday, May 14, 2012

Arlington Park

We all understand that you never know what goes on behind your neighbors’ curtains, right? We’ve learned this from relationships, novels and every Lifetime TV movie ever made. We got it. The yards in the neighborhood might be beautifully groomed, the car in the driveway the latest model, the children all smiles at the bus top but peel back the veneer and voila! The seamy underbelly of suburbia. This is the territory that Rachel Cusk covers in her novel, Arlington Park.

Have you read anything by Ms Cusk? She has the surgeon’s skill of cutting away and cutting away until the entire tumor is exposed and it serves her well in Arlington Park.  Cusk dissects the lives of four women who are far from old but whose youth is gone. They are all wives and mothers. Over the course of day, Cusk's plot illustrates the  varying states of unhappiness, paralysis, nursing slights and general discontent of her characters. Arlington Park is  where those whose dreams have always included an element of being “on the way up” discover the emotional cost of that life.
Cusk writes with uncompromising honesty about her characters. Yes she opens that older than dirt curtain idea  but that is only her first step in dissecting the relationships, choices, home lives and society of her women. Arlington Park is not a feel good novel of friendships tested among disparate women while they chew the fat over endless cups of tea. It’s a much darker story about not always likable people by a very talented writer

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