The Country Life

$18

The Country Life, Rachel Cusk’s third novel, is a rich and subtle story about embarrassment, awkwardness, and being alone; about families, or the lack of them; and about love in some peculiar guises.

“A brilliant oxymoron―a serious farce . . . Cusk’s ability to keep us interested in innumerable human collisions is uncanny.” ―The New Yorker


Stella Benson sets off for Hilltop, a tiny Sussex village housing a family that is somewhat larger-than-life. Her hopes for the Maddens may be high, but her station among them―as au pair to their irascible son, Martin―is undeniably low.

What could possibly have driven her to leave her home, job, and life in London for such rural ignominy? Why has she severed all contact with her parents? And why is she so reluctant to talk about her past?

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