Thursday, 31 January 2008

Book of the week - Sadie Jones, The Outcast

Interesting debut novel, which has attracted early positive reviews.
The tale of Lewis, a young boy growing up in Surrey in the 1950s, who in childhood witnesses his mother's accidental drowning. Mishandled first by his emotionally rigid father and then by his immature young stepmother, the early trauma hardens and Lewis' sweet nature is warped; he becomes self-harming, an occasional runaway, an arsonist and, eventually, goes to jail. His return triggers a series of events with the potential to lead to disaster. Pick up a signed copy now for £12.99 – good value for the sort of novel which often does well in the literary prizes later in the year.


sandy said...

Sorry, but this book's prose is so weak and flabby - "It was this . . . It was that . . . ." - that I'm baffled how it received so much acclaim. Collective insanity or sheer illiteracy? Any hack knows to avoid the passive voice. But Ms Jones has found a thousand novel uses for that fantastic word WAS and that other one WERE .. . . and dozens and dozens of other weak or passive usages that any five-cent editor would have red-penned. It was . . . a TERRIBLE novel,make no mistake.

Trapnel said...

The extent to which readers have a different appreciation of writing style always amazes me. I enjoyed this book and did not identify the problems which Sandy has highlighted. Outcast has been longlisted for this year's Orange Prize, and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. However, is it a case of the Emperor's New Clothes? Comments wellcome!