Of Note: Rachel Cusk’s unforgiving eye

June 2018

Jean Genet, the French novelist who spent his early years as a thief and a prostitute, once confessed to feeling a little throb of joy when he gazed on the faces of the people he robbed. The ugliness he saw there, an ugliness he had caused, aroused in him a “cruel pleasure”—a cutting, unrepentant thrill that was “bound to transfigure my own face, to make me resplendent,” he wrote in his autobiographical novel The Thief’s Journal. It was an unexpectedly...