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The Outside of August

2.98  ·  Rating Details ·  170 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Critics and readers alike hailed Swimming, Joanna Hershon’s fiction debut. “Compelling,” said the Washington Post, while Vanity Fair called Swimming a “page-turning premiere.” Now Hershon brings us her anticipated second novel, in which she vividly explores the secrets of an American family. The Outside of August is a mesmerizing, beautifully written story that combs the e ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 27th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 323)
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May 16, 2009 Lori rated it did not like it
I disliked this novel and basically stopped reading at about page 40 and began skimming through to uncover the secret to the mother's eccentricty. The characters were caricatures of ideas and not human beings. If the point of the novel was to feel outside of it, she succeeded beautifully. All the characters possess an elitist ennui and an attitude that their woes are the direct result of them being too intellectual and too philosophical for the mundane world they are unfortunate to have to exist ...more
Aug 10, 2008 Lanette rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
I got to page 72 and couldn't bring myself to continue... reading about a dysfunctional family and a whore of a girl (her way of 'getting back' at her mother for being gone much of the time) is not how I want to spend my quiet evenings. I didn't sympathize with any of the characters... didn't want to get to know them... didn't care about what happened to them. So, I'm abandoning this book with no regrets. Yet another Ballantine Book that's been a disappointment. What's up with that?!?!
Jan 03, 2016 Cathy rated it it was amazing
I find this story intriguing because it’s told from the point of view of a daughter whose mother, Charlotte, is always escaping to foreign lands. The family can’t really figure out what Charlotte does when she goes away, nor why she feels compelled to always leave. They feel the mother’s absence intensely when she’s absent, and they seem to always be waiting for her return. Of course, I can identify with this story as I can see a lot of myself in that mother. It’s interesting that it’s told fro ...more
Mar 19, 2009 Vivian rated it liked it
This story of a dysfunctional family spans the decades from the early 70's to 2001. It starts out slowly and the first half of the novel, set on the North Shore of Long Island, is hard to put down. We are introduced to Alice, the daughter, who seems to be always waiting for her mother to return from one of her endless trips. Alice's father is a workoholic and she is very emotionally attached to her elusive brother, August. And then there's Charlotte - the selfish, irresponsible mother who is awa ...more
Sep 01, 2009 Crystal rated it it was ok
I was sort of bored with this book. I guess I'm not much for the heavy psychological machinations of family dynamics. I couldn't identify with any of the characters: the absent and totally self-centered mother; the absent and totally self-centered brother; the weak and long suffering father; the daughter who spends 30 years trying to get her mother's love instead of the name of a good therapist. This book seems to have been reviewed very highly, so it must just be me. Also, I had trouble getting ...more
Kan inte påstå att den var trögläst. Men något fattades boken igen, det där som får en att vilja sträckläsa en bok.

Bra att Gus och Alice till slut fick veta sanningen om sin mor.
Lauren Albert
Mar 06, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In Outside of August, absence--both physical and emotional--drives obsessive need. Alice's often absent, and never-quite-present mother, leaves her with a hollowness she can't fill. She gives herself physically without compunction, but can never give herself emotionally to anyone outside of her family.
Apr 04, 2015 Reagan rated it did not like it
I stopped reading the book. The writing is terrible and the characters hard to relate to. While I'm mildly curious what the 'secret' behind the mother's behaviour is, it still isn't enough to compel me to finish the book.
Apr 07, 2011 Charlie rated it it was ok
Yeah, I couldn't get into this one at all. It dragged on for me, and it just lacked...something. I dont' really know what made me so turned off to this book, but I just struggled through it.
Nov 13, 2010 Sheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-me
I have to say I was disappointed in this one. It had much of the same style as my favorite "Swimming", however it was lacking something and I found it a bit boring.
Linda Gocha
Apr 01, 2012 Linda Gocha rated it liked it
Didn't like the way it was written, difficult to read. I don't think I'd read another one of hers.
Apr 04, 2013 Colleen rated it did not like it
Only read 50 pp. It did not draw me in, so I'm moving on.
Aug 31, 2007 Amber rated it it was ok
I liked her first book better.
Apr 21, 2013 Marissa rated it it was ok
Not overly inspiring
Jun 07, 2013 Linda rated it did not like it
Not worth the time.
Jan 19, 2008 Tommy marked it as read_me_piles
advanced reading copy
Nov 30, 2007 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
they said this is a good one
Mar 23, 2013 Joyce rated it did not like it
Didn't finish
Jul 31, 2007 Lauren rated it did not like it
BookDB marked it as to-read
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Sep 06, 2016
Kimberly rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2016
Jose Vredendaal
Jose Vredendaal rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2016
Jocelyn marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
Joy rated it did not like it
Jul 29, 2016
Stephanie P
Stephanie P marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2016
Jolene Loewen
Jolene Loewen rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2016
Mary marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
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