Amid the leafy avenues and comfortable houses, the residents of Arlington park live out the dubious accomplishments of civilisation: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. Men work, women look after children, and people generally do what's expected of them. Set over the course of a single rainy day, this novel moves from ...
Amid the leafy avenues and comfortable houses, the residents of Arlington park live out the dubious accomplishments of civilisation: material prosperity, personal freedom, and moral indifference. Men work, women look after children, and people generally do what's expected of them. Set over the course of a single rainy day, this novel moves from one household to another, and through the passing hours conducts a deep examination of its characters' lives: of Juliet, enranged at the victory of men over women in family life; of Amanda, warding off thoughts of death with obsessive housework; of Solly, who confronts her own buried femininity in the person of her Italian lodger; of Maisie, despairing at the inevitability with which beauty is destroyed; and of Christine, whose troubled, hilarious spirit presides over Arlington Park and the way of life it represents.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-10-16 In this devastating ensemble novel, Whitbread Award-winner Cusk (Saving Agnes) exposes the roiling inner lives and not-so-quiet desperation of young mothers in the well-to-do London suburb Arlington Park. The book's single day begins with an epic rainstorm that wakes part-time private-school English teacher Juliet Randall, who spent the previous evening at a wealthier neighbor's home and was told, in front of husband Benedict, "You want to be careful.... You can start to sound strident at your age." As Amanda Clapp strains to maintain her house's empty perfection, a multi-kid play date gets out of control. Maisie Carrington feels "imprisoned for life" by her frosty, upper-crust childhood, and can barely contain her violent feelings toward her own daughters. Christine Lanham, a newcomer to the class distinction her marriage has brought her, abhors the hypocrisy that surrounds her, but knows she will never leave her family. The story line coils around each woman's home until it gathers the group for a drunken dinner party, where husbands express pleasure with their privilege while fretting that something feels amiss, and children, exhausted by their mothers' alternating neglect and desperate love, sleep like the dead leaving the women holding hot coals of their silent insights. Their plight is an old story, but Cusk makes it incisively vivid. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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