Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021
Rachel Cusk’s Second Place is a short novel, addressed to a character named Jeffers, in which a woman known only as M invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives with her second husband.
The artist’s work inspired her to leave her first marriage years earlier. Over the course of one hot summer, his provocative presence provides the frame for a study of human relationships
‘A sharp feeling of estrangement is crucial to Ms. Cusk’s fictions. The writing, so heightened and epigrammatic, seems almost to mock the homespun fashions of traditional realist prose. Its beauties are glittering and mirrored in the way of razor wire: Artistic truth, in her books, is always a savage thing.’ Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
‘Second Place digs beneath the subjects of Cusk’s previous books – marriage, male privilege and motherhood – and engages with the murkier and more interesting relationship of art and evil.’ Randy Rosenthal, Washington Post