A Mosaic of Stories
Rachel Cusk and Linn Ullmann
Rachel Cusk is one of Britain’s leading writers, and a favorite among critics. She has long worked in the landscape of autofiction, and is often compared to Knausgård.
The sense of alienation in one’s own family and in romantic relationships is the subject in several of her essays and novels. Earlier, she has caused a stir by writing in a revealing way about her own divorce and the uncomfortable compromises she has had to make as a mother, in her memoirs A Life’s Work and Aftermath.
Her new fiction trilogy is considered a turn in her writing career. The first novel, Outline, is out in Norwegian translation (by Agnete Øye), and the sequel, Transit, will be published in Norwegian translation later this year. Outline consists of a mosaic of stories, as retold by the narrator, the writer Faye. She gets to talking with the people around her, and the ensuing conversations make up the heart of the novel. They often turn to family life, reflecting candidly about major life choices and liberation from restricting roles.
The moving, almost filmatic web of stories is propelled by the characters’ desire to tell and get support for their version of the story. But there is also a desire, through the stories, to be seen as the sympathetic part by twisting the account just a tiny bit.
What is Cusk’s view on the possibilities for storytelling and on family as a literary subject? Linn Ullmann is an enthusiastic Cusk reader, and the two will meet in conversation.
The conversation will be held in English.