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The Outcast Paperback – Mar 10 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (March 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307396681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307396686
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 19.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 14 2008
Format: Hardcover
British writer Sadie Jones has given us an amazing debut novel, an achingly beautiful story of loss, love, and redemption. She astounds with her picture of 1950s England, a Surrey where emotions roil beneath a peaceful bucolic surface. With penetrating insight and scrupulously wrought studies she traces the characters as they develop. Her portrait of a young man who almost perishes in a painful search to define himself is especially moving.

The Outcast opens as 19-year-old Lewis Aldridge is released after serving a two-year prison term for setting fire to the village church. He goes home as, in truth, he has nowhere else to go. He's hoping for a new beginning but that is not to be.

Lewis's childhood is described in a flashback to when he was 10-years-old and adapting to his father, Gilbert, being home again after the war. Prior to that time Lewis and his mother, Elizabeth, enjoyed a happy, loving relationship. She doted on him and he returned her affection. Always a shadowy figure, Gilbert, once again takes his place in the home yet remains a puzzlement to the boy.

Soon a dreadful tragedy occurs that sends Lewis into a horrific spiral of isolation, violence, and self-mutilation. Elizabeth drowns on what had begun as a happy river side picnic for Lewis and his mother. Gilbert is little solace to the boy and remarries within a year. Alice, his second wife, knows little of how to reach Lewis who is ostracized by his childhood friends. Riddled with self-hatred his behavior becomes increasingly anti-social, and he withdraws even deeper into himself.

He is virtually shunned by other villagers save for Tasmin and Kit, daughters of Gilbert's employer, Dicky Carmichael.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy on April 4 2008
Format: Hardcover
This novel follows the painful childhood and adolescence of Lewis Aldridge, a terribly misunderstood young man who is the tragic and unfortunate scapegoat of his very British and very middle-upper class suburban London community. Raised by his father to be obedient and restrained in all circumstances, Lewis buries his emotions and learns not to feel the pain that engulfs him after the sudden loss of his mother. Lewis handles his grief by self-destructing and committing a crime that shocks the entire upper crust community. Psychologically fragile, Lewis tries to turn his troubled past around and re-establish a relationship with his father. A subplot explores the lives of the Carmichael family, whose daughters Lewis admires and tries to befriend in his clumsy and lonely existence.

This is a book about dysfunctional families and the secrets that children keep in order to survive in an abusive home. Author Sadie Jones includes several surprising plot twists that keep the reader wondering what troubles her characters must deal with next. Jones' climactic and clever ending suggests that perhaps the outcast is not who he seems to be at the conclusion of this excellent novel. [Amy MacDougall]
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By Joann Bidgood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 19 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best book I have ever read~!!! I highly recommend~!! Well written, engrossing plot~ You'll remember the story long after you've closed the book. This is a keeper~!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Walter Hypes TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 14 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although not without its faults, this compelling melodrama, set in 1950's England centers on a young, troubled boy and his estranged relationship with his complicated father. Although connected by blood, there is little actual love, each ensnared in a disturbing alliance of denial and falsehood, their inevitable fracture caused by an untimely and sudden accidental death. What is seen on the top of Lewis and his father, Gilbert Aldridge's life together may be serene, but beneath there lurks a dark and angry battle for survival that gradually plays out against the rigid social mores of the time.

After two years serving in Brixton Prison, Lewis Aldridge never expected to have a happy homecoming when he finally arrives back in the bucolic village of Waterford, situated deep within the Home Counties of England. Even as his step-mother, Alice lovingly prepares his room for him, Lewis assures himself that he's going to make a promise and reassure his father, Gilbert that this time, things will be very different.

Perhaps these seeds of doubt and uncertainty were sown back in 1945 when Lewis led a priviledged and rather isolated existance with his mother Elizabeth, both content to live in a type of emotional and physical vaccum with only each other for company. But when World War 2 grinds to a hault and Gilbert returns, Elizabeth hopes that now that her husband is back they can finally be a proper family and hopefully make a fresh start.

But for Lewis, post-war life with his father seems strangely flat and difficult, the sight of Gilbert constantly unfamiliar and also strangely disturbing. He finds his father's maleness oddly threatening - yes, he is exiting, and there to be adored, but he is also quite foreign and his return changes the fragile balance of the house.
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