March marks the beginning of the new year for indigenous peoples in this part of the world, and for gardeners everywhere. The sense of renewal that requires real effort to conjure on January 1 comes naturally in March. It’s spring, the equinox is past, the sun is now in ascendance and the world is bursting with blossom and courting display.
My husband hears draft and thinks beer. I hear draft and think breeze. We’re both writers, but when it comes to producing drafts (not beer or breezes but the scribbling kind) we are as different as two writers can be. Ask him how many drafts it takes to write a book, and he’s likely to say, “Six or eight.” I’ve never racked up fewer than fifteen. I thought my new book would be different, but here I am at ten, and my agent has just spoken those dreaded words: “It’s not ready yet.”
Rachel Cusk’s protagonist, Faye, narrator of the novels Outline
, and Kudos,
is a strangely silent, receptive character who acts as a blank page on which others unspool their stories. At times heart-wrenching, philosophical, and bleakly mundane, these stories slide off her seemingly without effect—or affect. Everyone else goes on about themselves at length, but Faye reveals almost nothing of herself. She is cold and withheld—for me, a distinctly unlikeable character.
“I’m not interested in character,” Cusk says, ” because I don’t think character exists anymore.”