Synopses & Reviews
As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice poised for international recognition.
It's 1957 and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.
A decade earlier, his father's homecoming casts a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert 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 predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.
The Outcast is an unforgettable story of transgression and redemption from a powerful new writer.
“An arresting story” Washington Post Book World
“One of the more subtle of the…hot debut novelists…this season” New York Sun
“With her lush writing and tantalizing sense of setting and detail, Jones has written a novel that stands apart from rote imitation, and...offers the welcome promise of a literary career of originality and distinction.” Boston Globe
“Beautifully delicate...ever more compelling as Jones builds in a palpable sense of suspense.” Booklist (starred review)
“A superb debut novel…Joness prose is fluid, and Lewiss suffering comes across as achingly real.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Riveting…A superb debut novel about repression, rebellion, and moving on…The tension in THE OUTCAST is palpable and sensuous, beating loudly beneath the tranquil surface of Joness calm prose, and Lewis never disappoints in his fight for an ‘after that is happy and shame-free.” Elaina Richardson, O magazine
In 1957 Lewis Aldridge, newly released from prison, returns home to Waterford, a suburban town outside London. He is nineteen years old. A decade earlier his father's homecoming at war's end was greeted with far less apprehension by the staid, tightly knit community—thanks to Gilbert Aldridge's easy acceptance of suburban ritual and routine. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but the entire community is shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her.
No one in Waterford wants Lewis back—except Kit, a young woman who sympathizes with his grief and burgeoning rage. But in her attempts to set them both free, Kit fails to foresee the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open. The consequences for Lewis, his family, and the tightly knit community are devastating.
About the Author
Sadie Jones is the author of four novels, including The Outcast, winner of the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain and a finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize/Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Small Wars, and the bestselling The Uninvited Guests. She lives in London.