An extract from Kudos, the final novel in Rachel Cusk’s trilogy, following Outline and Transit.
Fishes and Dragons
An excerpt from ‘Fishes and Dragons’ a Lithuanian literary chinoiserie that addresses the interpretation by a European of Qing dynasty culture and art.
A Time for Everything
‘It can almost seem as if God was genuinely concerned about mankind.’ Translated by James Anderson.
'Childhood felt like a waiting room, a transitory phase between birth and the life we wanted.'
‘All those appetizing vessels exposed and available, O how delightfully vulnerable they are, it brings a tear to the eye.’
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
‘Thanks to the easy wind bellying our sails, we crossed fast and sighted the island six days early.’
'Andy doesn't like any of the names for what he does. He rejects 'impersonator', and resists 'tribute act', although he knows it comes closest.' From Chris Power's exceptional collection of short fiction, Mothers
‘This journey around the outskirts of the Jungle went in a little and came out wondering, well that is not what I would have called a jungle.’
‘My greatest desire has always been to take people literally. It’s not the same as wanting to trust them, but it’s related.’
The Taxidermy Museum
‘Even dying is an attempt to approach life. That’s how I perceive taxidermy.’
‘I made tea while the astronaut sat at our kitchen table and gazed out the window.’
The Last Children of Tokyo
‘Encountering a real animal – not just its name – would have set Mumei’s heart on fire.’ Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani.
‘I want you to close your eyes. I want you to relax, let go. I want you to let your mind see as vividly as possible the images my words conjure up. And above all, no matter what I say, I want you to trust me.’
The Rat Snipers
‘When they stand on their hind legs, arms up, wrists limp, rats can take on a beguiling sort of personhood.’
The Kabul Markhor
‘He felt very lonely after spending the winter holed up in his cabin eating Doritos.’
‘She was Some Pig. Her eggs easily incorporated the human genetic code. All her piglets were star patents.’
Our Lady of Mercy
‘I was engaged in a battle of politeness, those kindly – but ferocious – skirmishes that are so common in our country.’
‘Estuary English, the tongue of the river mouth, open vowels, clipped syllables that nonetheless spilled into one: I found it hard to listen to. The words snapped at my ears: malicious fish.’
‘This writer does not write among these men who are here because they have lost the plot, lost the thread of their own lives.’