Outline

A long time ago – so long that he had forgotten the author’s name – he read some memorable lines in a story about a man who is trying to ­translate another story, by a much more famous author. In these lines – which, my neighbour said, he still remembers to this day – the translator says that a ­sentence is born into this world neither good nor bad, and that to ­establish its character is a question of the subtlest possible adjustments, a process of intuition to which exaggeration and force are fatal. Those lines concerned the art of writing, but looking around himself in early middle-age my neighbour began to see that they applied just as much to the art of living. Everywhere he looked he saw people as it were ruined by the extremity of their own experiences

– from, Outline by Rachel Cusk

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