De Canadese schrijfster Rachel Cusk werd geboren op 8 februari 1967 in Saskatoon. Zij bracht echter een groot deel van haar vroege jeugd door in Los Angeles. Op negenjarige leeftijd verhuisde ze met haar familie naar het Verenigd Koninkrijk. Daar studeerde ze Engels aan New College, Oxford University. Later werkte ze voor een literair bureau in Londen en toerde ze door Spanje en Midden-Amerika. Zij is getrouwd met de kunstenaar Siemon Scamell-Katz. Cusk heeft acht romans en drie non-fictieboeken geschreven. Zij debuteerde in 1993 met “Saving Agnes”. Daarna volgden o.a. “The Country Life” (1997), “The Lucky Ones” (2003), “In the Fold” (2005), “Arlington Park” (2006), “The Bradshaw Variations” (2009), “Outline” (2014) en “Transit” (2016).Cusk heeft een aantal prijzen gewonnen en op de shortlist gestaan: haar roman 2014, “Outline”, was genomineerd voor de Folioprijs, de Goldsmiths Prize en de Baileys-prijs. In 2003 werd Cusk genomineerd door Granta Magazine als een van de 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’.
“Before the flight I was invited for lunch at a London club with a billionaire I’d been promised had liberal credentials. He talked in his open-necked shirt about the new software he was developing, that could help organisations identify the employees most likely to rob and betray them in the future. We were meant to be discussing a literary magazine he was thinking of starting up: unfortunately I had to leave before we arrived at that subject. He insisted on paying for a taxi to the airport, which was useful since I was late and had a heavy suitcase.
The billionaire had been keen to give me the outline of his life story, which had begun unprepossessingly and ended – obviously – with him being the relaxed, well-heeled man who sat across the table from me today. I wondered whether in fact what he wanted now was to be a writer, with the literary magazine as his entrée. A lot of people want to be writers: there was no reason to think you couldn’t buy your way into it. This man had bought himself in, and out, of a great many things. He mentioned a scheme he was working on, to eradicate lawyers from people’s personal lives. He was also developing a blueprint for a floating wind farm big enough to accommodate the entire community of people needed to service and run it: the gigantic platform could be located far out to sea, thus removing the unsightly turbines from the stretch of coast where he was hoping to pilot the proposal and where, incidentally, he owned a house. On Sundays he played drums in a rock band, just for fun. He was expecting his eleventh child, which wasn’t as bad as it sounded when you considered that he and his wife had once adopted quadruplets from Guatemala. I was finding it difficult to assimilate everything I was being told. The waitresses kept bringing more things, oysters, relishes, special wines. He was easily distracted, like a child with too many Christmas presents. But when he put me in the taxi he said, enjoy yourself in Athens, though I didn’t remember telling him that was where I was going.
On the tarmac at Heathrow the planeful of people waited silently to be taken into the air. The air hostess stood in the aisle and mimed with her props as the recording played. We were strapped into our seats, a field of strangers, in a silence like the silence of a congregation while the liturgy is read. She showed us the life jacket with its little pipe, the emergency exits, the oxygen mask dangling from a length of clear tubing. She led us through the possibility of death and disaster, as the priest leads the congregation through the details of purgatory and hell; and no one jumped up to escape while there was still time.“
Rachel Cusk (Saskatoon, 8 februari 1967)