Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and read it hungrily. I love the style of prose she uses, it seems to entice the reader on and on for more the way it is written. 

Sadie Jones sets these events during the 50's and successfully conveys the stifling atmosphere the characters are enduring. 
The central figure is the troubled youth and then young man, Lewis Aldridge, at first living with his mother and awaiting the return of his father from WWII. A tragic event means things will never be calm again for Lewis. He struggles to be a part of the community around him, and this community in turn isolates him and regards him with a mixture of fear and disgust. One figure who remains fond of Lewis is Kit Carmichael, who herself has her own hidden familial demons. The Carmichael family will prove to influence the events in Lewis' life as the novel plays out. 

I love how Lewis and Kit don't fit in with the roles that have been thrust upon them by their families and the events that have taken place. 
It was marvellous to read a novel about someone (Lewis) who doesn't fit and has suffered at the hands of fate, and through the ignorance and lack of compassion of others, and their inability to discuss and deal with the truth, especially emotions, which is a mark of the times they were living in. Jones allows us right inside his head, to painfully read of his agony, his confusion, his deep hurt. Equally compelling is the struggle and inability of his father to wholly accept and love his son without judgement. 

5/5 A favourite

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