Nicholas Lezard’s Choice: ‘Kudos’ by Rachel Cusk

book cover The great thing about Kudos is that while you couldn’t call it comic, there is humor in it I can tell you the exact moment when I realized I was reading something special, something more than an ordinary novel. The central character, Faye, is listening to an interviewer telling her the story of her disastrous marriage. There is a pause. “She was silent for a while, her chin lifted and her eyes half-closed. A bird landed enquiringly at her feet on the gravel path and sprang away again unnoticed.” Sprang away what ? It wasn’t unnoticed, because Cusk noticed it; so did we, for that matter. We can picture the scene vividly. And yet, like the tree that falls in the forest where there is no one to hear it, it is also, philosophically speaking, a non-event. It is also in a novel, i.e. a work of fiction, of stuff that is made up . And yet there it is on the page. I have spent some months, since I first read this novel, being driven slightly mad by that bird. My latest thought, which may suggest a certain derangement on my part, is that this bird […]

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