The Outcast

The Outcast

Book - 2008
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It's 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 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 predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Harper,, 2008.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780061374036
Branch Call Number: FIC JONE
Characteristics: 347 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 17, 2020

It was OK. Started off with intrigue - as many non-linear novels do - but became quite boring and slow. The characters are all deeply flawed (aren't we all) but most of them are also terrible, terrible people for seemingly no real reason other than, "Hey, it was after the war!" The story is pretty bleak all the way until the end.

I'm not keen to read anything else by this author.

sharonb122 Jul 14, 2013

An excellent portrait of post WWII real life behind the walls of respectability. the 1950s are typically remembered as idylic and tipifying "Family Values," but the human family was still flawed to the point of heartbreak and marring it's children. The generations pass it on. the "redemptive powers of love and understanding" pomised by the dust cover, came too late and not enough for me. Kit and Lewis quickly declare their love and each take off on their separate journeys alone, without family or any true healing from their tramas. I suspect their brokenness will follow them and rear its ugly head many times in the future.

May 21, 2012

This story started out okay. but I gave it up after gruesome acts. It has been my experience when a story starts going down that road, it doesn't get better. I would not recommend this book.

May 01, 2012

The theme of this book is 1950s patriarchy and physical abuse. It tells the story of a boy whose mother drowns and who feels abandoned. He cuts himself and ends up in prison. He is redeemed by a young girl. The book is not that well-written.

Dec 14, 2009

What if something terrible happens to a 10 year old boy. And then he can't handle the emotions of the event and everyone things he is responsible for it happening. And then everyone who should help him gives up on him and thinks he is a bad person. Except for someone else who is having something bad happen to her. Nothing good ever happens in this bleak book but in the end all is exposed.

samdog123 Jun 03, 2009

As a child, Lewis suffers the tragic loss of his Mother. As time goes by, he becomes emotionally disturbed and he spirals into a pattern of destructive behavior. Set in an era when mental disturbances were totally misunderstood; its a very poignant story, but well worth a read.

Nov 25, 2008

A sad but lovely story. You completely feel for the protagonist.


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