Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plotless, but effortless, 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Bradshaw Variations (Hardcover)
A bittersweet and slightly strange family saga, following the fortunes of three brothers and their families as they negotiate middle-age, marriage and parenthood. Thomas, the novel's protagonist, is delightfully frustrating and highly elusive - Cusk skilfully sketches his character in such a way that the reader is desperate to understand him but never seems able to. Does Thomas love his family at all? Is he actually gay? Why is he so detached from everything but his piano lessons? Cusk's main intention seems to be to point out that even the most ordinary - indeed, even the most boring (as all the characters' lives are by turn ordinary and just plain dull) - of people can be fascinating when only a small snippet of their personality is revealed. The characters in the novel are beautifully drawn, and the power-struggles between husbands and wives, mothers and daughters, sinlings and siblings are brilliantly realised. However, the novel is essentially plotless and ultimately pointless as its dedication to depicting `real life' means there can be no climax, no big reveal; so for all the Bradshaws, life just goes on. A beautiful and accomplished piece of literary fiction, and surprisingly gripping and easy to read for a book where very little is challenged or resolved.
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2.8 out of 5 stars (57 customer reviews)
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