Sorted By Most Useful
By Steve M on 02-14-17
Intelligent and Odd
Because I am not a big fan of heavily plotted books, I looked forward to reading this essentially (and intentionally) plotless novel. My reaction to it went from admiration and astonishment to impatience, annoyance, and boredom. It reminded me a little of the film My Dinner With Andre in that everything is second and third hand. Characters we don't really care about tell stories about characters we never meet to a narrator who is more guide than developed person. At one point I drifted off for five minutes. I started to go back to replay and thought, "Why bother? The chapter will end and I'll never meet this character again."
The writing is spectacularly polished and elegant and precise, without being remotely precious. The insights into love and relationships and all manner of behavior are stunning and gorgeously phrased. But ultimately, I wearied of the stories within stories and the passing parade of talkative characters.
Cusk is obviously masterful and brilliant. She knows what she's doing, I just ended up not being interested in it. This might be better on the page, but I don't feel like investing the time.The authority of her prose makes me want to read another, more traditional, of her novels.
Kate Reading is a pro (her name alone!) and she handles the difficult material well. The book is set in Greece and she manages a range of accents without going overboard.
I wish I could give this 2.5 as an overall experience. I did, after all, finish it.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
By JCH on 01-30-18
Deserves multiple listens or reads
This beautiful book is so substantive it demands more than one read or listen as well as annotations, copious underlining and personal connections written into one’s notes. Not thought provoking- Mind blowing. For those who complain plot is lacking, this novel should be approached as a collection of short stories rather than one cohesive narrative. As such, it is a work of genius.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Diane on 08-02-16
Odd little book
Where does Outline rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
In the middle, yet I'm still giving it a higher rating than that. I guess that's why I'm calling it odd.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
I didn't expect a resolved ending and didn't get one.
What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?
Beautiful, elegant diction, she was a pleasure to listen to.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, but yet it was compelling.
Any additional comments?
This is a book of conversations, not action. At times it seemed blah blah blah, but I never stopped listening ... probably because it was beautifully written & narrated and intensely interesting sometimes, but not all the time. It also had moments of truth & clarity for me.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Diane E Bunten on 09-28-17
Disconnected and disappointing
I am baffled why this was nominated for any kind of award, we 'read' it for book group and were in 100% agreement that it was just tedious. The weird first person/third person narrative style created distance and disconnection and the stories went nowhere and seemed pointless. Within one of the stories a 'writer' made a scathing comment about other writers needing to write about extremes to please readers, which might suggest the author has a principled belief that 'good writing' should focus on the everyday and not attempt to engage the reader. Well she succeeded for me. Oh and this goes for both the first two books in the series - won't bother with the third.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Laureen Miki on 05-11-17
Just an outline
While I appreciated some of the ideas in the book, there was really nothing for me to sink my teeth into, nothing that made me want to keep listening outside of my belief in finishing books unless they are truly horrible.
I have to say that I also found the narration quite poor. She had such a dreary sound to her voice which she imparted to all the characters, making them seem quite whiny or boring, sucking any remaining life out of an already gloomy book
1 of 1 people found this review helpful