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“In the Fold ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 22/08/2005

In the Fold
Rachel Cusk
Little, Brown, Oct 2005, $23.95, 272 pp.
ISBN: 0316058270

Michael's family adheres to rigid social customs so he knows little else. That is until he attends the eighteenth birthday party of Caris Hanbury, the sister of his university roommate Adam. He finds an entirely different world at Egypt Hill.

Years later, Michael resides in Bath with his edgy spouse Rebecca and their troubled withdrawn young son Hamish. They live in a beautiful house given to them by her parents the artistic amoral Alexanders, control freaks who in their eccentric way live an inflexible lifestyle that they expect everyone in their circle, including Michael and Hamash, to follow the lack of conformity that is paradoxically similar yet different from the Hanburys. Worried about his son, Michael takes Hamash with him on a pilgrimage to Egypt Hill where he first learned to break out of the binds of society, but nothing remains the same as he learns you can't go home. He always thought of the place since his first visit but realizes that his dream place is just an illusion.

IN THE FOLD is a deep look at relationshsips between people that will keep the audience pondering after finishing the novel what truly makes a family besides DNA. The story line lacks action as the plot concentrates on varying individuals interacting or not with some turning destructive and others illogical. Not for everyone, Rachel Cusk provides a potent look at the essence of an individual just surviving and mostly living in a society trying to file them in the appropriate drawer; some will rebel while others will quietly acquiesce.

Harriet Klausner

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