Canada Reads 2009: The Outlander by Gil Adamson
Filed under: Canada Reads — Ibis at 10:16 pm on Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Canada Reads blurb for the book:
“Gil Adamson’s beautifully written debut novel plunges readers into the action at the outset: The year is 1903, and Mary Boulton is being chased by dogs and her vengeful brothers-in-law under a moonlit sky.

Following this gripping opener, Mary embarks on a journey from the Prairies to the southern end of the Rockies. She encounters many intriguing characters along the way, including fellow outsider William Moreland, who is based on a real-life figure plucked from Albertan newspapers.

While she struggles to avoid starvation in a harsh and unfamiliar landscape, Mary must also contend with the dark memories that threaten to overtake her mind, in this tale of survival and liberation.

The novel’s blend of historical detail and meticulously crafted, lyrical fiction has garnered much praise since it was published in 2007. The Outlander recently won the ReLit Award for best novel and the in Canada First Novel Award.”

Other useful links:
the Canada Reads page for The Outlander

My thoughts:
Before – I’ve heard good things about this book & Nicholas Campbell seems to like it a lot.
During (18.01.09) – It took a while to get into this book—I didn’t really find it interesting until the appearance of the Ridgerunner guy and now he’s disappeared again, I’m somewhat bored. I don’t really like Mary Boulton as a character and I’m not sure why the author keeps calling her “the widow”: it seems an unnecessary affectation.
(22.01.09) – Another long, dull part in the middle. More not liking the characters much. A little disappointed with the Frank Slide disaster description (I can’t help but compare to Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising).
After – Well, I liked parts of this book and some of the writing, but overall I wasn’t thrilled. I’ll be quite interested to see what Campbell has to say about it. I guess I never really got grabbed by any of the characters, especially Mary.

1 Comment »

  • sarah said:  
    (On January 23rd, 2009 at 1:31 pm)

    Hi there. I’m sorry you haven’t been enjoying the book. I am a radio producer, working on “Canada Reads.” I loved it. My favourite line in the entire book is “life itself is an injury.” I have forgotten the page number. Somewhere around 250. At any rate, that’s what I love about the book, the gems of lines hidden among the pages of action. I agree Mary is somewhat remote as a character, but I didn’t mind that. I felt as if the ambiguity left more for me to figure out for myself. I would like to invite you to post a comment on the Canada Reads forum. I’m the moderator in charge of “The Outlander” thread, and I would be delighted if you’d join our discussion. Please give it some thought. I hope to hear from you soon. Sarah Cooper

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