The blurb on the front of my edition of the book, by Heidi Julavits (a writer I admire), sums up both the successes of this book and its pitfalls. For me, the latter outweighed the former, so I won’t be continuing with the trilogy. Julavits calls Cusk “one of the smartest writers alive.” Hyperbole aside, the writing here is certainly smart, much it in the form of intricate conversations that take place on airplanes, in cafes, etc.. Cusk negotiates these conversations with such nuance that I wanted to be in the conversations; I just didn’t want to particularly be reading them. As in Alison’s Nine Island, the protagonist is reconsidering relationships. In fact, she seems to be reconsidering taking an active part in her whole life. The narrator says
I had come to believe more and more in the virtues of passivity, and of living a life as unmarked by self-will as possible.
So if you’re in the mood for a kind of My Dinner with Andre in book form, this is for you.