A woman writer goes to Athens in the height of summer to teach a writing course. Though her own circumstances remain indistinct, she becomes the audience to a chain of narratives, as the people she meets tell her one after another the stories of their lives. Beginning with the neighbouring passenger on the flight out and his tales of fast boats and failed marriages, the storytellers talk of their loves and ambitions and pains, their anxieties, their perceptions and daily lives.
Author of the Booker-longlisted novel Second Place
Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her student in storytelling exercises. She meets other writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her seatmate from the place. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves, their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face great a great loss.
Outline is the first book in a short and yet epic cycle – a masterful trilogy which will be remembered as one of the most significant achievements of our times.
‘Outline succeeds powerfully. Among other things, it gets a great variety of human beings down on the page with both immediacy and depth; an elemental pleasure that makes the book as gripping to read as a thriller… A stellar accomplishment.’ James Lasdun, Guardian