circularity

The Lucky Ones is Rachel Cusk’s fifth book. 

In it, there is a Contents page, which announces five sections.  Each section stands by itself.  There is a passing reference in each section to at least one character in another section.  With a lovely circularity, the last section ends with, I believe, the only reference to the main character in the first section.

A wonderful collection of linked stories.  But the book, on its cover, calls itself a novel.   Again, I don’t think so. 

Still, the author’s writing throughout is even better in this book than her last.  The final section of The Lucky Ones is my favorite.  In it, she goes into that depth of truthfulness that characterizes a work of substance.

“You’re doing well for yourself,” said Vanessa sourly.

“And all that happened,” mused Serena, “was that I finally worked out that people prefer what’s true to what’s right. 

She writes about shaping a day:  “It seemed to Vanessa that she should do something to please Colin on his return from work, and this ambition immediately rose like a great spire from the humble structure of the day.”

Finally, perhaps my favorite paragraph:

“It was in the mornings that Vanessa most often suspected the existence of a problem.  In the rumpled dawn camouflage of her bed she would open her eyes and think of the coming day and sometimes, just as when sometimes she turned the key in the ignition of her old Honda, nothing would happen.  She lay there, paralyzed by the image of what she had both to construct and then to dismantle before being returned to this same bed, like a book being returned to its shelf, intact and yet somehow depleted of her information.”