Inside
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Inside

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  2,282 ratings  ·  324 reviews
“A skillful storyteller . . . attractively quick-witted and wry.” —J. M. Coetzee
“Ohlin has a great eye, a great ear, and all the other equipment auguring a very successful future.”—Jay McInerney
“Expect to hear her spoken of in the same reverent breath as Lorrie Moore and Joy Williams.” —Heidi Julavits


From the highly acclaimed author of The Missing Person and Babylon and Ot...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Vintage (first published 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Leigh Newman
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, which follows three separate characters: Grace, a therapist who's consulting with a disturbed teenage girl; Mitch, also a therapist, who moves all the way to the Arctic trying to rescue a young Inuit who's lost his whole family; and Anne, a struggling actress, who lets a pregnant runaway move into her apartment—and take over. Ohlin i...more
Carolyn
Don't bother.
I pretty much bought this book for its cover. Dumb move.
I was intrigued at first, but in the end I won't remember what this was about for long. This author is too young for me. Trite. Contrived prose written in the third person TELLING about all these people with superficial concerns whose lives intertwine - kinda - therapists (of course), people who go to the North and Africa to work so they can get hit with tragedies that are ultimately all about them, people who get pregnant, div...more
Steven Langdon
"Inside" is another of four novels nominated for Canada's major fiction award, the 2012 Giller Prize. "419" which I reviewed recently is very much a plot-driven book, while "Ru" which I have also reviewed is a memoir in novel form that is almost a lyrical poem in its magnificent language and interwoven, layered style. In contrast to both these books, "Inside" is much more driven by the depth and self-analysis of its characters. There is perhaps an over-arching theme -- best stated in a perspecti...more
Arlene
The first three chapters of Inside read like self-contained short stories. Each chapter features characters and settings with no apparent connection to those in the others. By chapter three, I asked myself, "Did I pick up a short story collection here?" and I checked the cover to confirm that Inside is a novel. Indeed, it is, but we don' start to see the connections until chapter four. Ohlin takes a risk with this approach; readers disconnect if not fed well enough, soon enough.

I hung in there t...more
Doreen
This book has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

There are three interconnected story strands: that of Grace, a well-meaning but rather inept therapist in Montreal; that of Annie, a young client of Grace’s who yearns to be an actress; and that of Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband who is also a therapist. There is not a linear plot: chapters move among the various characters and cover about a decade, although not chronologically.

I had difficulty keeping trac...more
Steven Buechler
This book is exactly why literature exceeds all forms of culture and communications as a means of dealing with the human condition. Ohlin takes a idealized element of our society - therapists - shows us not only the complex individuals that they are, but also the people they have tried to heal once they have left their care. And not always with a 'happy ending.'

Page 254:
In the nights to come Mitch lost the ability to sleep. He watched old movies in the middle of the night, spent hours with the W...more
Everyday eBook
Sep 20, 2012 Everyday eBook rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Everyday by: Kristin Fritz
There is no easing into Alix Ohlin’s latest novel, Inside. In one chilling, breathless moment, Grace comes upon an unconscious man off the side of the trail down which she’s skiing on a mountain in Montreal. A fallen skier? An unplanned detour? Unexpected injury? No, it’s none of these. It becomes apparent quite quickly that John “Tug” Tugwell has just attempted suicide, and Grace is the first to come across the scene. Saving a man’s life, however, is not enough when you’re a therapist. Grace is...more
Melissa Lee-tammeus
Okay, I wanted to like this book - it was about a therapist, so it should have been right up my alley. But I got about 1/3 into it and I just thought, "This book is not doing anything for me, why am I wasting my time waiting for this to get better?" So, I stopped. It started out well enough - therapist skiing, stumbles across a man trying to kill himself, she stops him takes him home, starts "therapizing." Then things shift to her guilt about her life and the reader loses track of the man and th...more
Christie
I really wanted to give this 3 stars, but it kept getting less and less interesting. And then, coming to the end, I all I could think was, "that's it?"
Eleanor
I love all of Alix Ohlin’s writing—from her first collection of stories, Babylon and Other Stories, to her first novel, The Missing Person. But Inside is my favorite work of hers to date.

Inside is aptly titled given that Ohlin has a preternatural ability to penetrate her characters’ minds and hearts. This, even more than Ohlin’s gorgeous prose and carefully crafted plot, is the reason to read Inside. As Ohlin maps out the lives of her disparate characters—from an up-and-coming actress in New Yo...more
Carole Yeaman
I believe the beautiful, and brilliant book jacket photo shows you the whole story. A delicate, monochromatic grey reflection. A snowball, entrapping safely its bits of "cold snow". The characters are mostly reaching out to others to be of real help; or are they trying to test their own limitations. In some cases the efforts are almost certainly doomed; in others the character may not be strong enough to persist with seeing thing through to the end. They are all striving to be INSIDE their own l...more
Wesley
3.5 stars. Understated yet enjoyable book with very real characters, but no strong plot.

I liked the way this book was written. I don’t remember the author going into much detail describing the characters, but I found it very easy to imagine these characters as real people to the point where halfway through the book, I re-realized that this book was fiction. Ohlin creates these characters by describing what happens to them and it’s these collective experiences that eventually comprise a complete...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Alix Ohlin’s Inside is the only novel this year to be nominated for both the ScotiaBank Giller and the Rogers Writers’ Trust fiction prizes. That’s quite an accomplishment for a book that was so viciously slammed by William Giraldi in The New York Times Sunday Book Review:

Ohlin’s language betrays an appalling lack of register — language that limps onto the page proudly indifferent to pitch or vigor. Mitch’s “heart sang” and then Mitch’s “heart sank”; poor Mitch “felt his heart cracking like ice...more
Mike Bull
I really enjoyed Inside because of the way this novel peels away at the layers of human feeling, motives, personal histories, backgrounds and tendencies which make up the complexity of being.

Also, I liked the structure of the novel, bouncing between locations, points in time, and characters which were gradually more and more interwoven in their interactions, and the reader's understanding of their actions and complexities, their differences, and their heartaches.

This book isn't for anyone lookin...more
Cheryl
"Let me out!" (response to the book "Inside").
The novel is arranged into chapters focusing on several different characters in different years; it hops back and forth between years and character viewpoints. I like that style, for it promises various insights that sometimes are dependently available only with the distance of time and other events.
Two of the characters are therapists, and the others are intricately enveloped by a therapy fog that feels like a displaced novel of the 70s. When the re...more
Erica Flynn
Apr 09, 2013 Erica Flynn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Erica by: Kobo
I can't quite get myself to liking this book. I think it was just Ohlin's writing style in this that didn't grab me. I found the prose to be a little lack-lustre for my personal taste. But the characters are complex and their relationships are intelligently portrayed. I just didn't have an emotional attachment to any of them. Is there a "Montreal-style" of writing? I feel like authors from Montreal often portray the same mood in their novels. Upon completion of Ohlin's book I feel the same as I...more
Nina
I hated this book. I hated the characters who were crazy, even the psychologists were nuts. Each and every character were flat with no growth or maturity. The only thing that I got out of it was that thank god I never majored in psychology. There was no happy ending for anyone. There was no positive outcome to anyone's story. Tug's back story was so detached from the rest of the story line. The chronology was terrible, random. I had to start skipping many pages because it was too damn depressing...more
VWrulesChick
Intricately woven stories that touch each other and see the character's struggles/thoughts (inside) and see where they journey along in life and how they manage their triumphs and challenges. Enjoyed the character's development in each of the storylines.
Julie
I started off not liking the book, but eventually I did find it hard to put down. I was pulled in, and it ending up being a fairly good book.

The story has a cast of some deeply flawed and damaged characters, it took a while to get into it, but some of their lives and how they got to where they were, was interesting to me. Captivating even, as they author brings to the surface some of the harsh realities the characters have faced, and how they choose to handle the decisions they made. This is a...more
Lucinda
Alix Ohlin's Inside has a lot of characteristics that I typically do not like in a book: her characters are both contrived and clichés, two of them being therapists out to help everyone they meet with their problems, another two being troubled teenagers, and another being a man damaged by the horrors he faced doing international aid work. Yikes, right? This book is so full of self-flagellation I wasn't sure I had the stomach for it.
In the end though I finished it having been a tiny smidge won ov...more
Sylvia
I have a very ambivalent feeling about this book. I like the way it is written and still this isn't my type of book. The style is good, but in the beginning it's difficult to get involved and feel comfortable with the characters in the story.
The Dutch title is Help where the English title is Inside which in my opinion covers the plot better.
All the characters in the book are involved with the lives of other people which they want to help. The result of all this altruism is that the characters...more
Aaron
The writing is really fine, and the characters are interesting, but I'm not sure that the idea of a story that loosely connects through various kinds of meetings really worked in this. It felt a bit like the author identified with the main character of the psychologist/therapist - a bit distant, overarching, curious but not too involved and in the end, not someone I related much to. None of this is a problem except the hype around the book, a finalist in the Booker awards, leads you to believe t...more
Jacqueline
I found this to be well written overall. I read and read, and kept asking myself...where's this going? This will all make sense soon. These characters and there stories will link up right? Um....not so much. When it ended, I looked up to my husband who was sitting beside me and said "That's it? That's the end?" I just didn't get it. The ending, the middle...none of it. There were some good chapters that I felt could have each been a short story. There were some funny lines (when one of the chara...more
Marian Szczepanski
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jaime Koebel
I think I need some time to process this book since I just finished it last night. but at first glance, I don't know if I've ever thought I could save people but I have thought that I could save ideas, relationships and the notion that I could make changes on my own. I was struck by the level of loneliness and detachment that characters in the book live in. I think that exists all around us - at times individuals pop in and out of detachment, some living most of their lives empty and shallow and...more
Alexis
Absolutely loved this book. It was nominated for both the Writers Trust award and the Giller, but didn't win either, which is a shame. It's a brilliant book. It's set mainly in Montreal and follows the lives of four characters, and dips back and forth in time from 1994 to 2006. The stories are mainly about broken people who are striving for connection with others, trying to get over their own loneliness. This is a book about human relationships and the need for connection. The writing is beautif...more
Laurie
Wow. In the middle of it, I was crying, from contemplating all the ways people and life hurt and damage each other, the cycle, or maybe spiral, never ending. Tug, experiencing the horrifying things people did to their friends, neighbors, family, being damaged beyond repair, causing his own damage, of a less horrifying but still life-changing nature. Annie's parents failing her over and over, creating a wary person lacking a center. Mitch just muddling through his life, failing and injuring and u...more
Allyson
I read Signs and Wonders first which was probably the best way to enter her writing world. I am now very curious about her earlier books but hesitate to destroy this spell. I love her writing and finished this is one day: Hurricane Sandy aftermath and it was the perfect respite from all that storm created. These characters remain vividly alive in my mind 2 days later while I type this and even the jumping around of years and characters was not distracting or irritating. It worked incredibly well...more
Jill
I wanted to like this book. I picked it up because I had read an excerpt from the first chapter and it was intriguing. I tried to ignore the signs--the signs that the writing was just not all that good, and the characters were not satisfying, and the interwoven stories structure was not going well. But by the third or fourth chapter, I couldn't deny my misgivings any more. I think it was the line, "With her thick-framed glasses and disapproving look, she resembled a librarian more than the lawye...more
Sarah
Grace, therapist, finds a man on a mountain; also, her ex-husband flees his new girlfriend and her son. Books like this are not made for me, and I am not made for books like this. I understand that it was written commendably and it was all about real lives coming together and apart and whatnot. But I'm frustrated because nothing really happened, or if it did, it was written in this quiet contained way where the happening was almost indistinguishable from the not happening, and the why was comple...more
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Alix Ohlin is the author of The Missing Person, a novel; Babylon and Other Stories; and Signs and Wonders, a new collection. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she teaches at Lafayette College.
More about Alix Ohlin...
Signs and Wonders The Missing Person Babylon and Other Stories Extraits gratuits - La rentrée littéraire Gallimard 2013 (French Edition) Ploughshares Fall 2007 Guest-Edited by Andrea Barrett

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“Witnessing the pain of others is the very least you can do in this world. It's how you know that when your own turn comes, someone will be there with you.” 6 likes
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