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Outlaws: A Novel Audio Download – Unabridged

3.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 25 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Aug. 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L4FZ3OI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I had read Cercas' earlier books I was keen to read this one and I was not disappointed.
The book takes place from the end of the Franco era in the mid-1970s to the present. It describes how Canas, a studious teenager from a conventional home joins a gang of "quinquis" (the English equivalent might be gypsy/travellers) from the other side of the river and spends his summer on a spree of crime and mayhem. The gang is led by Zarco who is described as charismatic, manipulative and unscrupulous. Without giving the plot away, the events of that summer and his relationship with Zarco profoundly influence the rest of Canas' life.
Cercas cleverly allows us to see the plot from several points of view, not only of Canas, but also of a police inspector and a prison superintendent. Whilst the plot is based around crime and delinquency, Cercas' skills give depth to the story so it becomes a meditation on growing up; the meaning of personal responsibility; how we perceive right and wrong and more.
Readers who persist with this deeply Spanish book will, I think, be very satisfied when they reach its conclusion.
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Format: Paperback
Very readably translated by Anne McLean, Javier Cercas’s account of juvenile delinquency, and its consequences in later life, is compelling storytelling. Cercas paints engaging characters and scenarios. He knows how to create and maintain suspense by repeatedly promising imminent revelations, a device he slightly overuses. Presenting alternate chapters as interviews with different interlocutors refreshes the dialogue. The ultimate explanation for everything is withheld even at the end.

What, if anything, is Cercas’s message, or ethical claim? He suggests that life and action are determined by context, whose power is greater than behavioural intentionality, or institutional reform. We are irreversibly formed, we don’t choose. But he presents justice as inescapable. Efforts to redeem one delinquent, or a decision to let another off, (similar to an event in Cercas’s ‘Soldiers of Salamis’), or to ignore the question of who the informer is, or to forgive and forget the school bully, are doomed. The birds come home to roost. The combination of these two claims makes justice harsh. For Cercas, mercy and compassion are ineffective. We have to hope otherwise.
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Format: Paperback
Well written, kept my interest, intriguing characters. Liked that there were still unsolved questions at the end. Was thought-provoking & deeper in some places if you wanted it to be.

On the negative side (& really it wasn't that much of an issue), I felt that the interviews with each person were told in the same tone & style which I wouldn't have thought is particularly realistic. It could also be said to drag a little bit but overall I'd still rate it highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cercas has gone down the tube.
Three excellent books of fiction, followed by a laboured non-fiction book followed by this tedious effort.
Found the style jarring and never have I been less interested in the central characters.
Used to be a writer I looked out for, now is one to avoid
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