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The Outlander Paperback – 4 Jan 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (4 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747598770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747598770
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A remarkable first novel, full of verve, beautifully written, and with all the panache of a great adventure' Michael Ondaatje 'From the outset, this atmospheric debut has a palpable air of menace ... With the breathless pace of an old-fashioned adventure story, and a supporting cast of mavericks, eccentrics and outcasts, this rich novel is packed full of drama' Daily Mail 'A superb adventure story' Kate Saunders, The Times 'Striking, thoughtful, full of unexpected twists, The Outlander is that rare delight: a novel that is beautifully written yet as gripping as any airport page-turner ... there are echoes of Cormac McCarthy. Hugely enjoyable ... A rattling good yarn' Guardian

Review

`Striking, thoughtful, full of unexpected twists, The Outlander is...a novel that is beautifully written yet as gripping as any page-turner.' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It was hard to know what I was getting into when I opened this novel and started reading the first page. A tale of the Wild West? A thriller? An action-packed chase? A murder mystery? The Outlander is a book that's hard to pigeonhole: it's all these things and more. Full of deftly lyrical prose, it's a gripping read. It was also unexpectedly funny in places!

The cover makes this book look a bit like a thriller, or a 'boys-own' style book about adventure. I should note that this book isn't a thriller, although it's gripping and there's a lot of suspense. It's not a particularly gendered book, either, but would be interesting to both male and female readers. There is both action, intrigue and psychological exploration, as well as beautifully written and atmospheric descriptions of landscape. I think the cover mis-represents the book slightly, but then it is always a rather tricky marketing exercise - especially with an unusually varied book like this one where I find it hard to imagine who the 'target market' could possibly be.

There's no 'whodunnit' element to this book, despite the fact that its premise is that the main character is fleeing a murder scene. You find out soon enough exactly how the plot stands, although as with all the best books there are some missing details that emerge to fill in the picture as you read. There's also a lot left to guess at and think about. The novel is based around the idea of a journey: the physical journey undertaken by the main character (Mary Boulton, a widow who's on the run after murdering her husband) is mirrored by an equally important psychological journey as she faces up to her past, tackles her tricky present situation with determination and humour, and gains a new view on the world as she travels.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book's main interest is the haunting way in which the main character is held at arm's length which leaves plenty of room for the imagination. The basic storyline is of a young 19 year old girl who is literally running from her past as she is perused relentlessly by the two brothers of the husband she has murdered. She runs blindly into the wilderness and her struggle to survive, her willpower, her sense of helplessness, her acceptance of isolation and her eventual coming to terms with herself form the bulk of the novel.

Along the way in the wilderness she meets a number of unusual and interesting characters who help her come to terms with herself as an individual and not as an appendage of her father or husband Although the author never allows us to glimpse too much of the widow's reasoning, thoughts and inner self - we do however get just enough to keep the interest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, its well written although it starts off slowly with many descriptions of the Canadian wilderness the pace does pick up. As the brother's get closer the widow starts to build relationships and the author unwinds her personal tale which is subtle and interesting. So this is a book for those who are interested in human relationships and how we all have to cope with their messiness, its set in 1903 so its also a tale of a women asserting herself in a male society. The slow beginning may put some off but they should persevere because as the widow is always out of arm's reach this is a book that you think about when you put it down and it provides a tantalizing glimpse of life outside mainstream society where the wilderness coldly reflects human frailty.
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Format: Hardcover
Gil Adamson's "The Outlander" is an evocative, gripping story of flight and pursuit, loneliness and love, set in the Canadian Rockies at the close of the Victorian era. The novel has many similarities to - and is just as good as - the winner of last year's Costa prize for Best Novel, Stef Penney's "The Tenderness of Wolves."

Adamson is a seventh-generation Canadian. She has previously published poetry and short stories. "The Outlander" - which was ten years in the writing - is her first novel. It builds on the themes of flight and alienation of her verse. Some of the characters and events draw on her family history. These she complements with in depth research and a vividly gothic imagination.

The book begins with a thunderclap:
"It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling. They burst from the cover of the woods and their shadows swam across a moonlit field. For a moment, it was as if her scent had torn like a cobweb and blown on the wind, shreds of it here and there, useless. The dogs faltered and broke apart, yearning. Walking now, stiff-legged, they ploughed the grass with their heavy snouts."

The story proceeds with relentless momentum, layering detail of landscape and climate, torquing up the psychological tension. We are immediately introduced to "the widow," a nineteen year-old fugitive, hallucinatory from hunger, post partum trauma, bereavement and shock - not guilt - at her own crime. We quickly learn that she has been "widowed by her own hand." Now, she is under pursuit from her late husband's giant, twin brothers aided by a professional tracker. She is not at home in the forest - "she has been trained for another life" - and even though surrounded by edible plants is unable to tell which she can and cannot eat.
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