Sunday, 25 January 2009

Book of the Week - Gil Adamson, The Outlander

The Outlander is a first novel by Gil Anderson, who has previously published two volumes of poetry and one of short stories. She lives in Toronto, and The Outlander has received wide acclaim and a number of awards in Canada. UK reviews are also very good, and signed copies of the Bloomsbury first edition are uncommon but still available at £12.99, which is a very good buy.

Set in 1903, Adamson's debut novel tells the wintry tale of 19-year-old Mary Boulton (“widowed by her own hand”) and her frantic odyssey across Idaho and Montana. The details of Boulton’s sad past—an unhappy marriage, a dead child, crippling depression—slowly emerge as she reluctantly ventures into the mountains, struggling to put distance between herself and her two vicious brothers-in-law, who track her like prey in retaliation for her killing of their kin. Boulton’s journey and ultimate liberation—made all the more captivating by the delirium that runs in the recesses of her mind—speaks to the resilience of the female spirit in the early part of the last century.

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