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Inside Paperback – May 28 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press; 1st Edition edition (May 28 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770892060
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770892064
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


.. the next big thing in North American literature. (Terry Rigelhof 2012-05-22)

Ohlin displays a profound empathy for people at their least rational -- and most human. (Stephan Lee Entertainment Weekly 2012-06-06)

... wondrously engrossing ... (Boston Globe 2012-06-10)

... vividly pictorial ... Ohlin has as unsettling an old soul as Leonard Cohen’s. (T. F. Rigelhof Globe and Mail 2012-06-15)

... [Alix] Ohlin makes us care ... (Carol Ross Williamson Guelph Mercury 2012-06-15)

... [a] twisty, clever and captivating read ... this cunning writer yanks you inside her world. (Mary Pols San Francisco Chronicle 2012-06-27)

Can any of us really save another person? Or is each of us solely responsible for his or her own life? That's the question lurking behind Alix Ohlin's astute novel. (Leigh Newman Oprah Magazine 2012-07-01)

... a superb second novel ... next to brilliant phrases and scenes of laugh-eliciting satiric jabs, there are brutal, heartbreaking circumstances. (Brett Josef Grubisic National Post 2012-07-06)

... a serious literary talent. (Claire Hopley Washington Times 2012-07-19)

Ohlin writes in elegant prose that is flush with wit and style, as clever and as smooth as Lorrie Moore. (Sean Carman The Rumpus 2012-07-24)

Ohlin knows what she’s doing, and it dawns that what’s true of all good fiction applies even more emphatically here: Inside, though fully satisfying the first time through, all but demands a second reading. It’s something most readers will be more than happy to do. (Ian McGillis Montreal Gazette 2012-07-26)

... [an] extremely readable blend of poignancy and sardonic humour ... (Dory Cerny Quill and Quire 2012-08-01)

Alix Ohlin’s writing is brilliant. Readers will enjoy ‘Inside’ and will finish anticipating Ohlin’s future works; wanting to see how far she can go. (Digital Journal 2012-10-26)

About the Author

Alix Ohlin is the author of two novels, Inside and The Missing Person, and two story collections, Babylon and Other Stories and Signs and Wonders. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on NPR's "Selected Shorts." Born and raised in Montreal, she now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and teaches at Lafayette College.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Alix Ohlin is a writer born in Montreal, now living in Pennsylvania. She has been praised by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee as "a skillful storyteller, quick-witted and wry."

The novel opens with a striking scene of Grace experiencing sudden disorientation on a wintry Mount Royal in Montreal:

"Now, at the end of January, it had finally snowed all night and all day, at last enough to ski on. She slipped around the Chalet and headed into the woods, losing the vista of Montreal below, gaining muffled silence and solitude, the trees turning the light even fainter. One skier had been here before her, leaving a path of parallel stripes. On a slight downhill slope she crouched down and picked up speed as she moved around a bend.

Turning, she saw the branch or whatever it was too late. Though she tried to slow down, she wasn't quick enough and ran right into it and was knocked out of her skis, falling sideways into the snow, realizing only when she sat up that what had tripped her was the body of a man.

The air torn from her returned slowly, painfully, to her burning lungs. When she could breathe she said, `Are you all right?' There was no answer (...) Kneeling down to check his pulse, she saw the rope around his neck. Thick and braided, it trailed beneath him, almost nestled under his arm, and the other end rested on a snowbank - no, was buried underneath it - and on the other side she could see that the branch it had been tied to had broken off."

Inside follows up on this engaging opening scene of attempted suicide with the story of four characters - Grace, a therapist, and 3 others who are - or have been - connected closely to her.

"Grace" is a clever choice of name for the protagonist, because grace is in fact a central theme in the book. How uplifting it can be, but also how accidental, arbitrary, and ultimately inseparable from the gray zones and mixed motives that constitute human nature.

Recommended !
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Format: Paperback
New York Times book reviewer William Giraldi called it "insufferable schmaltz." The Giller committee short-listed it for one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards. Montreal-born Alix Ohlin's "Inside" has certainly provoked strong reactions, enough to make me curious about the origin of all the fuss.

The opening of Ohlin's novel describes Montreal psychotherapist, Grace, cross-country skiing on Mount Royal, where she comes across a man lying face down in the snow. She soon realizes that the man has unsuccessfully hanged himself from a tree and, instantly, Ohlin reveals the story's central questions: when someone has suffered something terrible, how far does another person's duty go to help? What do the helper's motives become beyond simple instinct?

In subsequent chapters, the rest of the book's cast emerges. Annie, Grace's self-harming teenager patient, eventually pursues an acting career in New York, where a runaway who reminds her of herself takes over her life; Tug, that man in the snow, tries to shake the demons of an encounter with a gruesome episode of African history; and Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, flees a troubled new relationship to do social work in the Canadian north and quickly finds himself in over his head.

Ohlin gives each character's story equal weight, partially overlapping them across time and place. This method can seem daunting to the reader and perhaps the author's strength as a short story writer gets in the way of writing a fully cohesive novel. Indeed, at times "Inside" reads more like a collection of linked stories containing disorienting shifts in space and time. But, if the reader pays close attention, Ohlin’s combination of smooth prose, thematic complexity and structural ambition makes for an equally accessible and demanding novel.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read by author Alex Ohlin, and as cliche as it sounds, it really was the type of novel that completely drew me into the lives of the four characters she portrays. The stories were heartbreaking and real, and I grew to actually care about the characters and the troubles they were facing. I couldn't put it down. If you're looking for action and adventure it's probably not the best choice, but if you like a good character-driven novel then I highly reccomend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book was heartbreakingly sad and depressing. I thought it was really well written, and I "liked" the characters in the sense that they were fascinating (although they were mostly quite unlikeable). The main negative point is that I found the book ended abruptly. I didn't like not knowing what became of the characters. Did any of them find happiness? You can sort of assume how things ended but only in a very vague way. This made me almost hate the book by the time I finished it. I hate not knowing. I wanted more. But it's definitely a book that completely absorbs you, and I found myself thinking about the characters days after I read it. So overall...loved reading it. Didn't want to put it down. But also hated it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Positives: Loved the author's writing style when she described scenes, emotions and of descriptions of Canadian scenes. The characters sounded real. Very easy read.

Cons: Lack of action. Unfortunately, the author wasted too much time describing the scene, the characters inner perceptions and emotions, but forgot to add action. I kept reading hoping for something to happen, only to be left with a bunch of depressed characters who felt lonely all the time and it ended with no twist or surprise, nothing, just a bland mix of sadness. Don't read this book if you're depressed it will only make you want to kill yourself!
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