October 19, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

In the Fold

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Rachel Cusk
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
genre
Fiction
We gave it an A-

Another eccentric Brideshead-like family bewitches yet another impressionable young Englishman in Rachel Cusk’s sharp, playful novel, In the Fold. Michael first visits Egypt Hill, the country home of his school friend Adam Hanbury, for a family birthday party. Among the sexy, boozy, charming Hanburys, Michael has an intimation that his ”life was going to expand and expand and become beautiful.” Who can resist an intimation like that? But Michael returns to Egypt Hill years later, in flight from a spectacularly miserable marriage, and sees the Hanburys — and his own life — in a revelatory new light. It’s a familiar tale of youth and disillusionment, but Cusk gives it contemporary crackle and some poignant new twists.

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