The magical world of Rachel Cusk continues to buoy and delight. Her writing seems effortlessly beautiful, putting description and philosophy and questions about modern life and poetry into the mouths of the characters that buzz around the main narrator, an author traveling to a literary festival where she speaks, meets her publisher, meets her translator, meets sundry other authors, has “interviews” with people who end up gabbing their time away in lieu of asking her questions. She gets away with covering a lot of territory without much action, like the TV journalist’s feminist rant during sound check, “there was nothing worse than to be an average white male of average talents and intelligence: even the most oppressed housewife is closer to the drama and poetry of life than he is…” This interviewer goes on to mention her thesis on British artist Joan Eardley who I’d never heard of, another forgotten woman to wrest from the ashes of history. There was another bit where the narrator is talking about “a feeling of homesickness even when you are at home… a sorrow that has no cause,” which reminded me of something in Lost Connections that I need to go look up. Something else that resonated with me was the discussion of the renovation of an older European city previously neglected but now new shops and restaurants pouring in, only they were “the same shops you saw in town centres around the world and the bars and cafes were touristic versions of themselves in the same inevitable way as everywhere else, and so this regeneration begins to look a little like a mask of death. Europe is dying and because every separate part is being replaced as it dies it becomes harder and harder to tell what is fake and what is real, so that we might not realise until the whole thing has gone.”