Picks and Pans Review: The Lucky Ones

updated 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Rachel Cusk

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"I had a private distrust of the stability of everyday things," confides a woman who could be speaking for nearly all the characters in these interlocking domestic dramas. Set in present-day England and pegged as a novel, The Lucky Ones functions more as a collection of stories with characters crossing paths in large and small ways, à la movies such as Magnolia. Cusk goes deeply inside her characters' heads, and the precision of her observations is extraordinary: "It is the same with people you once cared about. When you meet them again you see your feelings still imprisoned in them, unavailing, like jewels locked in a casket." The author of a 2002 memoir on motherhood (A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother), Cusk is particularly good at depicting the conflicted feelings of new parents and the tensions between couples. Her intelligence and emotional honesty give a sense of having experienced, rather than read, this book.

THRILLER

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