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3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
Arlington Park
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on 23 August 2014
Although cleverly constructed, this book does not have a single sympathetic character. I was counting down the pages to the end.
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on 11 September 2009
I would like to like this novel more than I do. It amply fulfils many of the criteria I would assign to "good novel" status. It has believable and interesting characters and has two passages of scene-setting that I would classify as outstandingly good writing. Cusk writes about unhappy lives in a rather posh set of houses in the suburbs of a city. Her women are various in their accomplishments but all are nevertheless all arriving at a recognition that material things don't matter and their relationships are no longer central to their sense of who they are and where they are going.

A witty and angry novel about women's place in society, Arlington Park made me feel distinctly uncomfortable, while I recognised the justice of its claims that marriage confirms women in their inequality as well as giving them a reason for continuing - the children, of course. It is intelligent and lucid, but the weather is foul where these women live, and nothing, not even a splurge of sunshine, can lift the gloom at the heart of their situation.
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on 8 November 2007
I haven't written a review before, but was so amazed to see the negative reviews of this book that I felt I had to throw my own two pennys in... I thought this book was one of the best that I have read in a long time, and it is one that has stayed with me. If you are looking for chick lit or a simple beginning, middle, end, then it's understandable that you may be disappointed. However, this book is much more interesting and deeper than that. It deals with a day at a well-to-do housing estate and the women who for various reasons have ended up there. The beauty of it is in the convincing way in which Cusk describes the women's opinions and inner thoughts, showing that there is so much more going on here than you might first assume upon first sight of this perfectly 'nice' suburban area. Each chapter deals with a different character, and it was unusual to feel so close to and so convinced by each character in such a short space of time. This novel is all about what goes unsaid and what goes on under the surface, combined with incredibly accurate and stunning descriptions of the suburban world most of us live in. A couple of friends have also read this book on my recommendation and have agreed that they too experienced that feeling of 'Yes, that's just right'. If you enjoy intelligent, accurate writing and characters with actual depth, you will definitely enjoy this. To say that 'nothing happens' is to miss the whole point. There don't have to be deaths/divorces/explosions for something to happen. Life just isn't like that. The interesting bits are always in the details, and the character's voices here are devastatingly accurate and often crushingly funny. I also didn't come away feeling that being female is no fun, but that there is more depth, humour, strength and passion in people than you might ever guess. And no, I'm not and never have been a housewife.
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on 15 June 2007
This book was a really easy book to read and is very easy to identify with, especially if you are a suburb housewife, or have ever felt that you have not achieved all you thought you would.

Really well written it has a flow that makes it a pleasure to read, if a little depressing at times.

This book is ideal for an afternoon read when you just want to drift away and enjoy some realistic characters without a really deep meaningful story.
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on 5 June 2008
There is no storyline. This book is only about the depressing lives of average housewifes in an average English suburb. Boring.
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on 6 June 2007
Breathtakingly accurate, this book provides an astonishing insight into suburban women's experience of marriage and motherhood in the 21st century - so revealing and accurate that at times I thought no man should be allowed to read it. Where The Guardian's reviewer thought she was guilty of "resorting to some pretty broad caricature when it suits her purposes and injecting grotesque notes that at times feel nastily gratuitous" - I thought she was uncannily spot-on (he obviously just didn't want to believe it). This novel competes with the best of Margaret Atwood for entering a real woman's head, documenting all the insanity, fears, petty jealousies, resentments and love that do battle there. Beautifully written, with a carefully chosen simplicity that cuts right to the heart. I felt exposed, enthralled and depressed all at the same time. An amazing book.
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on 1 December 2014
This book left me complete cold. I couldn't engage with any of the characters and it could come to an end too soon. Truly awful.
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on 2 November 2013
The book is like my expectation. I've bough it for a class lesson and I liked to read it. I recommande it!
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on 3 January 2016
had great hopes. A poor book, padded with adjectival descriptions instead of substance. V disappointed
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on 9 December 2007
I loved this book and am bewildered by some of the negative comments on here. I was bowled over by Rachel Cusk's elegant and witty style and the way she takes us inside the heads of her characters--some of them, like Juliet, quite sympathetic, others, like the bigoted Christine, rather less so. It's as if 'Ulysses' has been crossed with Mike Leigh--in the course of a single day in Arlington Park, a rainy and dull suburb, the reader is introduced to a series of women whose lives are circumscribed by domesticity and their social situation---quite ordinary, middle class women but no less interesting for that. Some parts made me laugh out loud and the little 'epiphanies' of every day life are superbly realised. I was sorry when it ended and shall re-read this book---it's a masterclass in the writing of fiction.
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