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The Outcast: A Novel

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The Outcast: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780061374036
ISBN10: 0061374032
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

A deeply felt exploration of damaged families and relationships, Sadie Jones's gorgeous debut novel is subtle, moving, and surprising.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"It's an arresting story, but The Outcast has plenty of problems....[T]he novel's tone is unremittingly lugubrious, lacking even a hint of humor, much less comic relief...." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A mesmerizing portrait of 1950s hypocrisy and unexpected love, from a powerful new voice.

It is 1957, and Lewis Aldridge, straight out of prison, is journeying back to his home in Waterford, a suburban town outside London. He is nineteen years old, and his return will have dramatic consequences not just for his family, but for the whole community.

A decade earlier, his father's homecoming has a very different effect. The war is over and Gilbert has been demobilized. He reverts easily to suburban life — cocktails at six-thirty, church on Sundays — but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her.

Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she is dealt by her own father's hand. Lewis's grief and burgeoning rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to foresee the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.

In this brilliant debut, Sadie Jones tells the story of a boy who refuses to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community that rejects love in favor of appearances. Written with nail-biting suspense and cinematic pacing, The Outcast is an emotionally powerful evocation of postwar provincial English society and a remarkably uplifting testament to the redemptive powers of love and understanding.

Review:

"Set in post WWII suburban London, this superb debut novel charts the downward spiral and tortured redemption of a young man shattered by loss. The war is over, and Lewis Aldridge is getting used to having his father, Gilbert, back in the house. Things hum along splendidly until Lewis's mother drowns, casting the 10-year-old into deep isolation. Lewis is ignored by grief-stricken Gilbert, who remarries a year after the death, and Lewis's sadness festers during his adolescence until he boils over and torches a church. After serving two years in prison, Lewis returns home seeking redemption and forgiveness, only to find himself ostracized. The town's most prominent family, the Carmichaels, poses particular danger: terrifying, abusive patriarch Dicky (who is also Gilbert's boss) wants to humiliate him; beautiful 21-year-old Tamsin possesses an insidious coquettishness; and patient, innocent Kit — not quite 16 years old — confounds him with her youthful affection. Mutual distrust between Lewis and the locals grows, but Kit may be able to save Lewis. Jones's prose is fluid, and Lewis's suffering comes across as achingly real." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"As this first novel by a young British writer opens, Lewis Aldridge is leaving Brixton Prison after serving two years for arson. It is August 1957, and he is 19 years old. The act for which he was incarcerated was committed out of sorrow, anger and desperation. Nine years ago, when he was 10, his mother, Elizabeth, perhaps somewhat under the influence of a bottle of wine she had drunk while he and... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Beautifully delicate....The teen's struggle for redemption becomes ever more compelling as Jones builds in a palpable sense of suspense." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Riveting....The tension in The Outcast is palpable and sensuous, beating loudly beneath the tranquil surface of Jones's calm prose." O magazine

Review:

"A confident, suspenseful and affecting first novel, delivered in cool, precise, distinctive prose." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Synopsis:

In this brilliant debut, Jones tells the story of a boy who refuses to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community that rejects love in favor of appearances. Written with nail-biting suspense, The Outcast is an emotionally powerful testament to the powers of love and understanding.

About the Author

Sadie Jones was born and brought up in London, where she now lives with her husband and two children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

bonniegarvin, April 2, 2008 (view all comments by bonniegarvin)
I love this book. For me it has it all. The characters are compelling and heartfelt. The story is powerful and poignant. The language is poetic and evocative. Jones's fluid prose is seemingless effortless. At the same time, I felt as though I was reading a thriller being propelled through the book. My heart was racing at the same time it was breaking. The characters are so real they feel as if they're going to walk off the page. Jones captures a place and time as well as a mood. But she doesn't do it through a lens of nostalgia. Rather she shines a harsh light into the dark recesses where hypocrisy hides, exposing its ugly truths.
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sammy falzone, March 24, 2008 (view all comments by sammy falzone)
Look, when did it become OK to write in the PASSIVE VOICE? I expect more from the British - it is THEIR language. But Sadie Jones, a rank amateur if there ever was, needs to study writing at one of those American Fine Art colleges and LEARN that "It was" ,and other weak constructions like it, stinks; that it is bad and WRONG to overuse "IT WAS". She uses the word WAS and the like about 9000 times. It is a terrible novel and all of you applauding it are nothing but analphabets . . . IT WAS IT WAS IT WAS TERRIBLE IT WAS . . . .
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061374036
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Jones, Sadie
Author:
by Sadie Jones
Author:
by Sadie Jones
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Mothers and sons
Subject:
England
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
March 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.45x5.95x1.15 in. 1.06 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Outcast: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Harper - English 9780061374036 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A deeply felt exploration of damaged families and relationships, Sadie Jones's gorgeous debut novel is subtle, moving, and surprising.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in post WWII suburban London, this superb debut novel charts the downward spiral and tortured redemption of a young man shattered by loss. The war is over, and Lewis Aldridge is getting used to having his father, Gilbert, back in the house. Things hum along splendidly until Lewis's mother drowns, casting the 10-year-old into deep isolation. Lewis is ignored by grief-stricken Gilbert, who remarries a year after the death, and Lewis's sadness festers during his adolescence until he boils over and torches a church. After serving two years in prison, Lewis returns home seeking redemption and forgiveness, only to find himself ostracized. The town's most prominent family, the Carmichaels, poses particular danger: terrifying, abusive patriarch Dicky (who is also Gilbert's boss) wants to humiliate him; beautiful 21-year-old Tamsin possesses an insidious coquettishness; and patient, innocent Kit — not quite 16 years old — confounds him with her youthful affection. Mutual distrust between Lewis and the locals grows, but Kit may be able to save Lewis. Jones's prose is fluid, and Lewis's suffering comes across as achingly real." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "It's an arresting story, but The Outcast has plenty of problems....[T]he novel's tone is unremittingly lugubrious, lacking even a hint of humor, much less comic relief...." (read the entire Washington Post review)
"Review" by , "Beautifully delicate....The teen's struggle for redemption becomes ever more compelling as Jones builds in a palpable sense of suspense."
"Review" by , "Riveting....The tension in The Outcast is palpable and sensuous, beating loudly beneath the tranquil surface of Jones's calm prose."
"Review" by , "A confident, suspenseful and affecting first novel, delivered in cool, precise, distinctive prose."
"Synopsis" by , In this brilliant debut, Jones tells the story of a boy who refuses to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community that rejects love in favor of appearances. Written with nail-biting suspense, The Outcast is an emotionally powerful testament to the powers of love and understanding.
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