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by Rachel Cusk
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374100802, Hardcover)Set in a moderately posh suburb of London, acclaimed British novelist Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park is a captivating exploration of how the simple act of living can become an excruciating exercise in self-deprivation, hypocrisy, and desperation. Set over the course of a single day, the novel follows a group of young mothers who feel both anger at the husbands who seemingly imprisoned them in a world of minivans and coffee klatches, and resignation about the fates they seem destined to fulfill.
While Arlington Park may deal in toddlers and tater tots, it is certainly not another generic Mommy Lit clone. Cusk is a skilled writer, and in her hands, a dreary lunch at the mall food court is transformed into "lost property, but for people." As the day progresses, we watch as Juliet chops her hair off in a small, if meaningless act of rebellion, Amanda stifles a burning desire to scream at a neighbor's kid for ruining her white sofa, Maisie blames her parents for not loving her enough while throwing her daughter's lunchbox at the kitchen wall, and Christine stuffs chicken breasts while silently cursing her husband for spending too much time getting ready for a dinner party. In each scene, the oppressiveness is almost unbearable, prompting readers to practically beg these women to flee as far and as fast as is humanely possible.
Of course, in driving her readers to the edge of frustration and outrage, Cusk succeeds in creating a novel that penetrates deeper than most. Still, after turning the last page, you might find yourself reaching for a little Mommy Lit candy to take the edge off. --Gisele Toueg
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:32 -0400)
Arlington Park, a modern-day English suburb, is a place devoted to the profitable ordinariness of life. Set over the course of a single rainy day, this novel moves from one household to another, and through the passing hours conducts a deep examination of its characters' lives. Originally published: 2006.
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