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57 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
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 (10)
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant and accomplished - but I didn't enjoy reading it
Cusk has won numerous awards but while I thought this was an elegant and accomplished novel, it was one which I personally didn't enjoy reading. More or less plotless it explores the failed expectations and emotionless emptiness of the very middle-class Bradshaw family. The petty power struggles between husbands and wives are depicted in a narrative that switches between...
Published on 24 Aug. 2009 by Roman Clodia

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, underwhelming
To start a book with the line "What is art?" is quite a way of sticking your flag in the ground. Saying: 'I don't care if this sounds sophomoric - listen up.' Which is admirable, and besides, the question is really asked by a protagonist, and not the author, not really.

The issue is that the book tries to answer that question by wringing interest out of the...
Published on 17 Dec. 2009 by Epigone


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely, lyrical read, 7 Nov. 2009
By 
Maryom (Derby, England) - See all my reviews
An enjoyable, engrossing book, charting a year in the lives of the Bradshaws told from the perspectives of various family members - the elderly mother, the three sons, their wives .Not a book of fast paced action but one of the gradual unfolding of characters, their lives, habits, histories and hopes, with the search for artistic inner self-exploration thwarted by the outer world of work and on-going family life .
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story telling, 6 Oct. 2009
By 
Donald Lush "lushd" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For a while, I thought I would not review this book as I am so obviously not the target audience.

And indeed this tale of domestic drama in which middle class people who have plenty money, food and shelter suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous and over sensitive imagination could be thought of as merely self indulgence (I am middle class etc etc - these are my people!). As Peter Cook might have said, we don't need this in books, we get enough of it at home.

What redeems it for me is the quality. Cusk's prose is lucid, her wit sharp, her story telling addictive. I kept getting hooked in even when I thought I ought to know better and moreover, enjoying myself hugely while loathing the characters.

The ending is genuinely scary and moving and I have a new reading experience. I am not sure I'll be back but I am glad I stuck with it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A WELL WRITTEN NOVEL, 17 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Bradshaw Variations (Paperback)
This was a very good novel.Although it lacked any discernable plot ,it was written with thought and understanding. It covers a year in the life of the Bradshaw's.It deals with the ramifications itself of the family, and the brothers sisters,daughters and parents. It also involvesw colleagues from the college where Tonie works.
The writing is very thought provoking,and srikes a chord with lots of true situations,and the reality of those events happening, and the way that they are recorded.
I suppose the lack of a real plot detracts a little from the overall impression,and when events do happen towards the end of the book I was hopeful that something concrete might happen, but that was not to be.
This is certainly a very thoughtful story, and has been written very carefully,and with a great deal of understanding.It will certainly make me want to read more of Rachel Cusk,as I feel that she is an author who has the ability to write riveting and thought provoking novels.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying, 13 Sept. 2009
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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The book centres on various members of the Bradshaw family and in particular, Thomas, Tonie and their daughter, Alexa. The traditional family roles are reversed when Tonie accepts a promotion to chair the English department in the university where she lectures and Thomas becomes a stay-at-home father to Alexa. Other characters are Thomas' brothers and their families as well as their respective parents.

The book tries to capture the tribulations of family life, but the writing is so detached that I found it hard to form any affection for the characters or their problems. It's a nice slim hardcover book but it still took me a long time to read it. I literally had to drag myself through it. Extremely unsatisfying.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but empty, 11 Sept. 2009
By 
Cath B - See all my reviews
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This is an interesting book which chronicles the lives of a family as the dynamics change when the gender roles are reversed. The premise was good, but I found it frustrating as you end up feeling that nothing really happens. Most of the characters are fairly unsympathetic which made it ultimately disatisfying. When I started reading this, I felt it had real potential, but this slowly evaporated as the end was hurriedly arrived at. Consequently, just as you're waiting for the characters to come into their own, it's all over! Whilst I found it to be well written, this wasn't enough to make up for the overall plotlines and character development.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 16 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: The Bradshaw Variations (Paperback)
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not the most comfortable read - but better for that, 26 Aug. 2009
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This book follows a couple and their child, the husbands brothers and families and their parents. It cuts in and out of each life and rather than engaging you as part of the story it rather like becoming an observer.

I found one couples relationship reminded me of my own and has made me sit up and think I must remember not to get swept away with day to day stuff and try and make things special. Another relationship reminded me of my parents. I think most readers will find something to connect with.

It is very well observed to the point of being painful at times. A very emotive piece of writing which I enjoyed dispite the discomfort at times.

Not a 'happy' 'light' read for on the beach, more of a book before bed.
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The Bradshaw Variations
The Bradshaw Variations by Rachel Cusk (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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