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Arlington Park: A Novel Paperback – December 26, 2007
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While Arlington Park may deal in toddlers and tater tots, it is certainly not another generic Mommy Lit clone. Cusk is a skilled writer, and in her hands, a dreary lunch at the mall food court is transformed into "lost property, but for people." As the day progresses, we watch as Juliet chops her hair off in a small, if meaningless act of rebellion, Amanda stifles a burning desire to scream at a neighbor's kid for ruining her white sofa, Maisie blames her parents for not loving her enough while throwing her daughter's lunchbox at the kitchen wall, and Christine stuffs chicken breasts while silently cursing her husband for spending too much time getting ready for a dinner party. In each scene, the oppressiveness is almost unbearable, prompting readers to practically beg these women to flee as far and as fast as is humanely possible.
Of course, in driving her readers to the edge of frustration and outrage, Cusk succeeds in creating a novel that penetrates deeper than most. Still, after turning the last page, you might find yourself reaching for a little Mommy Lit candy to take the edge off. --Gisele Toueg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Not nearly as enjoyable as Cusk's previous work, THE LUCKY ONES. The women in ARLINGTON PARK are lucky their husbands put up with them.
I don't know what Rachel Cusk is trying to say; I honestly felt bewildered by it all. It is very difficult to continue reading a book when you cannot stand a single character; these women were repulsive to me - thoughtless, insensitive, unloving. It's one thing to be drained by motherhood and domesticity; that isn't the issue. These women read as though they would have been despicable regardless; as single women, married women, mothers; it doesn't matter. They just aren't nice people.
It makes me wonder if Rachel Cusk is clinically depressed; the photo she chose for the back jacket is shockingly bad: lank greasy hair, dull facial expression. She's a talented writer - I hope she gets a really good editor.
Her idea, to explore the internal lives of several women on this particular day is good except the women she creates are all bitter, cold, loveless people who have it all and still complain. We first meet Juliet, a school teacher with a husband, two children, a nice house and yet she inexplicably feels she's been "murdered" by her husband. Why? He doesn't stop her from working. He pitches in with the kids. How does he murder her? We never know. Yet this angry worldview is something that Juliet feels duty-bound to pass onto her students. Other characters are even less sympathetic; Amanda is a compulsively neat housewife who tells her preschool age son to "shut up" when he asks questions and when she does give him an explanation we're told "she wanted to hammer him over the head with it". Later, when another child gets magic marker on her sofa her reaction is equally violent: "'I could kill you!' she whispered. 'I could kill you!' She threw him back down on the cushions" How on earth are we supposed to sympathize with this woman? Or other "protagonists" are equally unlikeable. Each is discontent and expects the world to bend over backwards to accomodate her.
I'm giving this book 2 stars for some nice prose here and there. When she's not lifting her phrasing from other writers Rachel Cusk crafts her prose nicely. Still this book isn't enoyable or particularly enlightening.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I LOVED this book. It is one of the only books I have ever read that acknowledges the darker, dormant aspects of the lives we lead. Read morePublished 9 months ago by julie rogers
Shared with several friends after reading "Outline." Not a huge fan initially of "Outline" but after researching the author and reading this one, I have a new... Read morePublished 14 months ago by MKP
Plenty of authors, such as Patrick Hamilton, Anthony Burgess, Somerset Maugham and George Orwell to name a few, have written entertaining books about dull people and their dull... Read morePublished on June 27, 2012 by John Fitzpatrick
The start to this novel is brilliantly evocative describing the rain over a night-time city: 'In their sleep they heard it, people lying in their beds: the thunderous noise of... Read morePublished on June 14, 2012 by sally tarbox
this woman is seriously neurotic. had to throw this book out 60 pages in. yeah we get it surburban life is superficial but please. Read morePublished on September 2, 2010 by jm1313
Rachel Cusk is a brilliant writer. Every observation of hers seems so true, is written with such poetry & ease... this a book I'll be rereading for sure. Read morePublished on May 14, 2010 by Reader
Arlington Park is well written and digs deep into truth. It's about women-real and flawed. It's about marriage. Read morePublished on January 25, 2009 by cynthia newberry martin
Rachel Cusk writes very well. Her prose is poetic, flowing, witty and lyrical. Her latest novel, Arlington Park, is a cynical analysis of domestic life and how small seemingly... Read morePublished on August 1, 2008 by Lola. M
Is difficult to find an author as Rachel Cusk. She writes about motherhood and the little and daily things of life with a kind of humour acid, dark, smart. Read morePublished on June 17, 2008 by Maruska