Mary's Reviews > The Outlander

The Outlander by Gil Adamson
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Aug 30, 11

Read in August, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Well, I read this all the way through, so that's something, I guess. Seems I cared enough to see how it would end, so I had to give it another star for that reason.
In the books defense, I think the author almost created a female Homer's Odyssey, and that's what kept me coming back to it. A lot of running away and crashing through the woods, and then a period of bonding and domesticity, then crazy events and feats of superhuman survival and escape. The author did manage to build some sense of suspense.
However, one of my first problems with the book was the way she insisted on referring to Mary Boulton, throughout the entire book, as "the widow". It got in the way of my being able to picture and relate to the character. Every time I read it, it irritated me. The widow" kept making me see a gray-haired old lady, not the young, vulnerable, unprepared and quite frankly really stupid girl that she was supposed to be. I could not get a feel for who Mary was.
The real problem may be that Mary just had no personality. She stumbled along in a catatonic state throughout the book. I don't know how anyone came to care enough about her to rescue her. She barely ever spoke, and when she did, she never revealed her real self. Must have been her stellar cooking, which included "glutinous porcupine stew". It was an impossible stretch to imagine anyone this ill-equipped and senseless surviving one night, let alone however long she was supposed to be out in the wilderness all by herself.

Then the plot turns, Oiy!; I will save you the trouble-she is rescued at deaths door by a hermit who just happens to be healthy enough, young enough, and sane enough to be sexually attractive, they make mad passionate love for days on end, and then low and behold he abandons her to die in the woods (because he can't change, dammit, and all this sex is just too distracting!). Indian saves her, takes her to town; Town explodes, father figure dies, she miraculously survives; she's captured, her pregnancy is revealed, she miraculously escapes; The hermit (realizing his mistake)tracks her down, they are happily reunited. Whew, hours of reading there, folks. Spared you that. It's like a bad Novella. All that's missing is amnesia and an illegitimate brother she never knew (who turns out to be the hermit, of course).

And it might have worked as a fantasy odyssey if I cared about the characters. All the Cormac McCarthy ravs in other reviews made me question what I was missing,but Balderdash, I say.(yes,you heard me, Balderdash!) Compare this to The Road and you'll pull your hair out at the insult to McCarthy. This one does not come close.

I would recommend The Tenderness of Wolves if you're interested in a good historical Canadian winter murder mystery. Cormac McCarthy's The Road, of course, is the ultimate modern desperate odyssey across desolate landscape.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Gillian and Grace YES! i feel ENTIRELY the same way as u


message 2: by Kristen (new) - added it

Kristen I've been debating on whether or not to finish it and you just made my decision easier....


Gillian and Grace Glad i could help!


message 4: by Sølvi (new)

Sølvi I managed to get over half way trough, but you saved me the rest. Thanks!


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