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The Outcast by Sadie Jones

The Outcast (2008)

by Sadie Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,110607,455 (3.59)225
  1. 30
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (JeaniusOak, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven literary novels set in 20th-century England offer haunting, reflective narratives of secrets, shame and guilt. In each, children make decisions or perform actions that have unintended, tragic consequences and lasting repercussions.… (more)

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» See also 225 mentions

English (54)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (2)  Piratical (1)  All (59)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
This was presented in 10, 15-minute segments. Despite this being a tale of a life I don't identify with, I somehow do identify with the characters and their interactions. Based on other reviews, the book sounds terribly depressing, but they also say it's a quick read, which I think would make it bearable. One wouldn't get too bogged down for a long time. This is one I'd like to read. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
This won the Costa Award for first novel in 2008. In the London outskirts of the post-war years, a young boy's fragile childhood is shattered by a cruel tragedy, a childhood further roiled by a staid, insensitive father, who himself flails beneath the arrogance of his boss. The boy, Lewis, grows despondent amidst the forces of rejection, his psychological scars untended. All of this could, and in fact does, lead to violence, but the unflinching telling of the story is so absorbing I could wade through the mire with ease. There is a great deal of suppressed emotion and brutal secrets here as well, in the form of the closely aligned Carmichael family as well as Lewis's own. The feel of a gin-laced, male-dominated 1950s environment saturates the page, and the style and setting reminds me greatly of Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road, a book that in fact the author lists as an influence. Curiously, the novel could easily have been set in an American suburb as in England. A spare, swift read, with an emotional pull I didn't expect. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Nov 9, 2017 |
The rational part of me knows I should not have liked this book. It is one of those weepy stories, designed to manipulate, taking pleasure in destroying a main character. Sort of the literary equivalent of torture porn. Ok, not really. I grew to like the main character and had to watch him put through the ringer, falling into one tragic situation after another. Never getting a break. Did I mention for most of the book, he’s a child?

I should have liked it. It was almost too Hallmark Hall of Fame/Lifetime Original Movie, but it was very well written and despite the doom and gloom, very compelling. I’m a sucker for British WW2 stories and this is sort of the antithesis of the danger and glamour of the books, the calm after the storm. Changed people had to go and pick up the pieces of their former lives, and their difficulty adjusting to ordinary life impacts their friends and families.
( )
  KiernanMaire | Oct 25, 2017 |
A very good story but very grim indeed. The main character Lewis is a young boy who loses his affectionate mother when she drowns while they are out swimming. His father is very stuffy and cold and the boy withdraws into himself. He feels isolated and becomes known to the town as the "difficult" boy and no one cuts him any slack at all. The novel begins with a Prologue where Lewis is age 19 and returning home from two years of prison. It's a book that is tough to read because you can tell Lewis is a really sweet kid who is just crying out for affection, only to be rebuffed time and again. Well worth the read. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
What an outstanding debut! If I ever were to write a book, this would be the sort of first book I would dream of writing. Crystal-clear poignant writing, startling psychological insights, gripping plot, characters who resonate in your consciousness, and a powerful urgency that makes you want the book to continue long after it ended. The Outcast by Sadie Jones just cannot get better as a debut.

Sometimes reading is not about the big, classic prose. It is not about 1000 pages of history-making epics. Reading is sometimes just an echo into a world not ours. The Outcast achieves the latter perfectly. Young Lewis Aldridge is damaged for life when his mother drowns in a river, while he watches, and then struggles to rescue her. The incident scars relations with his father, who withdraws into himself and treats Lewis as an "outcast" than the love that the lad craves. Alice, his step-mother tries hard but the relationship between Lewis and her is fraught with tension. Cursed with a violent temper, Lewis grows up misunderstood, much maligned, and eventually thrown into the harsh edges of society's unforgiving judgment. I have a temper myself, and at every step I found myself almost mentally wishing Lewis not to lose his temper, not to get angry, and not to retreat into the violence his damaged soul craves. Trust me, I identified with Lewis. There is only person who understands Lewis despite his torn soul - and that is Kit. But do "Kit and Lewis remain intact and find their way to each other" amid the mess and muddle of "violence, sex, parental responsibility, love and emotion?" I would be spoiling the book for you if I told you that, wouldn't I? :-)

Throughout the novel, Sadie Jones keeps the tension up. The atmosphere is claustrophobic as it builds up towards what is admittedly, in the only drawback of the plot, a very staged climax. But The Outcast is stunning. A remarkable debut, and I hope Sadie is writing more! ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sadie Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099513420, Paperback)

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 has recently been demobbed. 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 has been 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. As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and 19 years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.

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