Taking off

I recently read “Outline” by Rachel Cusk, a novel about a writer who travels to Athens to teach a writing seminar. It’s a meditation on failure, specifically marriage failures, with people talking at length about their marriages and relationships. If you like a more plot-driven story, you might want to look elsewhere. I found it difficult to sustain interest in the characters.
But the novel started strong, with a literal, and vividly written, take-off:

“Outside, the turgid summer afternoon lay stalled over the runway; little airport vehicles raced unconstrained across the flat distances, skating and turning and circling like toys, and further away still was the silver thread of the motorway that ran and glinted like a brook bounded by the monotonous fields. The plane began to move, trundling forward so that the vista appeared to unfreeze into motion, flowing past the windows first slowly and then faster, until there was the feeling of effortful, half-hesitant lifting as it detached itself from the earth. There was a moment in which it seemed impossible that this could happen. But then it did.”
–Rachel Cusk, “Outline”

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