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The Lucky Ones Hardcover – 7 Apr 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (7 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857029127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857029123
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,944,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘The Lucky Ones has a theme equal to its author’s wit, intelligence and genius for observation. This novel is not a particularly comfortable place to be, partly because it’s so much like life and partly because Rachel Cusk is brilliant at depicting unattractive characters. But anyone who has ever lived in a family will relish it.’ Cressida Connolly, Daily Telegraph

‘Her prose is measured and poised. She share’s Virginia Woolf’s interest in making art out of the minutiae of women’s inner monologues.’ Stephanie Merritt, Observer

'Cusk is a highly interesting, original writer and, more unusually, she is a joy to read.' Helen Dunmore

'Goodness she can write. It takes the breath away.' Claudia FitzHerbert, Daily Telegraph

Praise for The Country Life:
"In this, her third novel, Rachel Cusk writes with the fastidiousness and delightful grace we have come to expect… Stella is a splendidly memorable creation." Sue Gaisford, Independent on Sunday

"This book is a delight… The Country Life is remarkable for two things; its humour and its menace… Its mixture of P.G.Wodehouse, Cold Comfort Farm and Jane Austen is a pleasure to read" Tibor Fischer, Sunday Express

“I was addicted. The detail is breathtaking and Cusk’s descriptions of a heatwave in the countryside almost had me dripping sweat and scratching the nettle stings. It is also hysterically funny.” Lisa Jewell

From the Back Cover

In this profound study of human relationships, five overlapping narratives of love and detachment merge to form a powerful evocation of family identity.

A young pregnant woman's misfortune; a new father's disaffection; a daughter's search for a lost childhood; a mother's antagonism; a wife's secret suffering – through it all runs the story of Victor Porter, a campaigning lawyer, and his journalist wife, Serena, in whose relationship the conflict between the public and the personal, between love and morality, is played out.

Rachel Cusk writes of life's transformation, of what separates us from those we love and what binds us to those we no longer understand. 'The Lucky Ones' is a novel about creating and sustaining life. It illuminates with startling precision the texture and complexity of emotional existence within 'the bustling concourses of life'.

On 'A Life's Work'

'As compulsive as a thriller'
Kate Kellaway, 'Observer'

'An incitement to riot. I laughed out loud, often, in painful recognition.'
Esther Freud

'Full of enormous insight and sly wit. Cusk has crafted a work of beauty and wisdom. And belly laughs.'
Suzanne Moore, 'New Statesman'

'Some alchemy of her prose renders this most fascinating and boring of all subjects graceful, eloquent, modest and true.'
Jane Shilling, 'Sunday Telegraph'

On 'The Country Life:'

'This book is a delight. 'The Country Life' is remarkable for two things; its humour and its menace. Its mixture of P.G. Wodehouse, 'Cold Comfort Farm', and Jane Austen is a pleasure to read.'
Tibor Fischer, 'Sunday Express'

'I was addicted. The detail is breathtaking and Cusk's descriptions of a heatwave in the countryside almost had me dripping sweat and scratching the nettle stings. It is also hysterically funny.'
Lisa Jewell'


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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Laura on 22 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Cusk's previous work, and I must preface this review by admitting that I am a fan. Except for Saving Agnes, I have found all her novels and short stories to be mesmerizing. Two particular favorites were The Temporary and The Country Life. I would say this book is a departure, but it has been my experience that every new work by Cusk is a departure. That is why she is so readable: she will constantly surprise you with each effort. I don't know if "The Lucky Ones" will be ranked among my favorites, but I wouldn't have missed it. For the masterpiece that is the chapter entitled "Mrs. Daley's Daughter", it is not to be missed. Mrs. Daley is an instantly recognizable monster, who serves herself up to the reader with chilling self-justification. The final section was also very moving, and drew me in completely, although I felt the storyline blundered slightly into both sentimentality and shock/horror in the final pages. (it sounds impossible to have both, but read it and you will see what I mean). But whatever you might say about this book, you could never call it predictable or mundane. It is like all of Rachel Cusk's work: it pulls back the curtain on things we could only guess at before. Her psychological insights are always worth the cost of her books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FaffingAbout on 8 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read other books by Rachel Cusk and generally enjoyed them, but not this one. The book is a sequence of stories, connected by the mention of a lawyer who is acquainted with some of the characters in each story. I didn't warm to any of the characters nor did I find them believable. In fact, I didn't care about them at all and I found the whole book a bit of an ordeal. Another reviewer suggests that Ms Cusk used this book to practise her literary style, and I have to say I agree with this.

I almost gave up on the book when I read the line 'I felt I had failed to secure the definitive territories of my family existence' - this supposedly the thoughts of a child. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

It is terribly difficult to read a book that is so littered with prose that tries so hard to be impressive and lyrical. It came as a relief towards the end of the book to read a page or two that had relatively normal dialogue. The author finds it hard to describe something without adding an 'as if...' or an 'as though ..' clause. The description might be thought-provoking in isolation but with often several examples on one page, it just becomes tedious.

Rachel Cusk tends to concentrate on detailing the thoughts and lives of ordinary people - this is what I generally enjoy about her writing. I like the way she picks out the real motives behind what people do, the bitter little transactions that go on in all our lives. But there has to be sympathy and compassion, the reader needs to feel some connection with the characters - in this book I didn't. Perhaps this was down to my irritation with the writing style, but I think mainly it was because I don't think the author felt any connection with her characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clara Luna on 4 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-crafted piece of work from a very talented writer. Rachel Cusk knows a thing or two about women, and their "self-referenced tapestries", their lives as mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. She also understands very well what it means to be a parent, and how children change our lives in ways that are impossible to predict. She fully succeeds in showing us the intricate dynamics of human relationships in families, in friendship, at work.

This book takes you to a hidden world behind closed doors, in quiet villages, or busy towns, to an ocean of deceptively naive conversations, thoughts and events that shape the characters' psychic worlds.

The prose is a delight in itself, full of witty observations combined with a dose of lyric language that goes straight to the point.

I would give ten stars to the book if I could. I haven't enjoyed a book so thoroughly in a very long time. I fully recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wendy V on 1 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
The first story in The Lucky Ones left me ambivalent, but I'm very glad I continued, because the book became more compelling as it went on. The overlap between certain characters and events in the stories mean that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I agree with the reviewer who said that Mrs Daley's Daughter is a masterpiece. We all know women who cannot resist undermining their daughters when their daughters have babies, so Mrs Daley is utterly recognisable, but so well-drawn I could not only taste her resentment and control-freakery, but understand it and trace it right back to its roots. The final story is also excellent, and ties up loose threads from earlier episodes. This is the first of Cusk's books I've read, and on the strength of it I will definitely be reading more.
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