The Outcast by Sadie Jones
A Novel

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Jones uses Lewis and Kit's battle against society to make a statement against blind conformity, but her concept of rebellion is nearly as bland as the stuffed shirts who hold the heroes back. It reads like the poetry of a gifted high-school student: achingly sincere, but without the maturity to matter to anyone old enough to rent a car.
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Synopsis

A mesmerizing portrait of 1950s hypocrisy and unexpected love, from a powerful new voice

It is 1957, and Lewis Aldridge, straight out of prison, is journeying back to his home in Waterford, a suburban town outside London. He is nineteen years old, and his return will have dramatic consequences not just for his family, but for the whole community.

A decade earlier, his father's homecoming has a very different effect. The war is over and Gilbert has been demobilized. 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 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 foresee the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.

In this brilliant debut, Sadie Jones tells the story of a boy who refuses to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community that rejects love in favor of appearances. Written with nail-biting suspense and cinematic pacing, The Outcast is an emotionally powerful evocation of postwar provincial English society and a remarkably uplifting testament to the redemptive powers of love and understanding.

 

About Sadie Jones

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Sadie Jones's first novel, The Outcast, was published to wide critical acclaim and won the Costa First Novel Award in Great Britain. It was also a finalist for the prestigious Orange Prize, as well as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Her second novel, Small Wars, a tale of love, war, and honor, was published to impressive critical praise. She lives in London.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 354 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Zack Handlen on Apr 02 2008

Jones uses Lewis and Kit's battle against society to make a statement against blind conformity, but her concept of rebellion is nearly as bland as the stuffed shirts who hold the heroes back. It reads like the poetry of a gifted high-school student: achingly sincere, but without the maturity to matter to anyone old enough to rent a car.

Read Full Review of The Outcast: A Novel | See more reviews from AV Club

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