Monday, 23 June 2008

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

This book is stunning. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel, the calibre of writing and plotting is so mature. She captures the claustrophobic, smug world of 1950's middle England so well. The issues that she deals with, self - harming, wife beating, child abuse are downplayed in a subtle manner, they are heart breaking but never sensationalised. It is a telling reminder that we never know what happens behind closed doors, but thank goodness these issues are out in the open today. This will make a fantastic reading group book, there is just so much to talk about. If you have the feeling from the review that this is a dark book, far be it, there is a strong message of hope and resilience, and that young people far from being victims can show us the way forward. Her characterisation particularly of Lewis is deft and carries depth, you really feel you get to know him, and above all can identify with him. Even when he spirals out of control , you never lose that empathy with him, this is the skill of an excellent writer.

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