Can art both save and destroy us? Rachel Cusk offers a deep affirmation of the human soul, while grappling with its darkest demons.

A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. Over the course of one hot summer, his provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally between our internal and external worlds.

Longlisted
The 2021 Booker Prize
Published by
Faber & Faber
Publication date
Rachel Cusk

Rachel Cusk

About the Author

Rachel Cusk is a Canadian novelist and writer. Her 2005 novel In the Fold was longlisted for the Booker Prize.
More about Rachel Cusk

I felt better able to express my ideas about femininity and perception as ideas about painting

Rachel Cusk and Makenna Goodman in conversation

Rachel Cusk and author Makenna Goodman appeared in conversation for the Washington D.C. bookshop Politics and Prose.

‘The big project for me with Second Place was thinking about location, something needing to have a location… and that’s a question about painting versus writing, and something I’ve been increasingly interested in is the location in itself of a visual work, and how almost location-less a written work is, and I guess that also in my head connected with femininity as a location or as something that is lacking a location,’ said Cusk.

Watch the conversation in full below.

Rachel Cusk wearing a blue shirt and looking at the camera.

Second Place is introspective and amusing, an impeccable work of art

Other nominated books by Rachel Cusk

In the Fold