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Going Out

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,577 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Luke is twenty-five and allergic to the sun. He is stuck in his bedroom, where the world comes to him through TV, the internet and Julie's visits. Julie, meanwhile, is brilliant, kind and could be changing the world. Unfortunately she is too terrified of aeroplane crashes, road accidents and potentially life-threatening bacteria to leave her home town. When someone contact ...more
Paperback, 377 pages
Published April 5th 2012 by Canongate (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,577 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Luke is allergic to the sun and his best friend Julie has phobias about flying, car crashes, bacterial infections and is frightened of leaving her hometown. Together they are a pair that has consoled each other in their worries and fears, and over the years developed a bond where their vulnerabilities provided the glue. This relationship became so inter-dependent that they hid or ruined any opportunities in life that threatened to tear them apart, including going to University.

One d
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you might already know, I love Scarlett Thomas and have been trying to get my hands on a copy of this - one of her rarer books - for quite a while; it was the one book of hers, excepting a couple of the very early Lily Pascale mysteries, I hadn't read. First published in 2002, it's something of a bridge between the author's slightly amateurish earlier novels and her superior later work (which in my opinion begins with 2004's PopCo). Like Bright Young Things, it has an ensemble cast of characters and a thir ...more
Victoria Rose
PSA: I bloody LOVE Scarlett Thomas. She has a way of writing dialogue that’s so believable without being dull, even when the conversations go nowhere and barely anything happens. It was the same with her novel Bright Young Things - a group of friends chilling, chatting shit, and that’s basically it.

Going Out follows Luke, a 25 year old who is allergic to the sun and has thus been stuck in his room for years. His best friend is Julie, who is afraid of pretty much everything. They and some more y
May 05, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was a rather sad commentary on where 20-somethings find themselves today. Nor was the writing attractive. Indeed, Going Out read like the work of a young reporter--not a journalist, a reporter--because nothing was placed in a cultural or psychological setting of any value. The Independent on Sunday said Going Out was "surreal and inventive." I think that's giving it too much credit. It was unreal and derivative, actually. Gregor Samsa was better.

The Daily Mail said it was "A mode
Verity (The Cosy Reading Nest)
After many years of trying to get hold of this book the publisher finally decided to print a new edition of it this year and I was thrilled to see it when I visited my nearest bookshop.

I wish I could say it was worth the wait but sadly I found myself wishing it was over from about halfway through.

The blurb doesn't really accurately depict what the story is about, in the sense that it doesn't particularly focus on Luke's allergy to the sun and his road to desperately finding a cure.
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: set-in-uk
Another unique book from Scarlett Thomas that incorporates plenty of interesting ideas about how we live our lives. A bunch of friends, all with their own issues go off in a campervan to consult a healer for Luke; he has never been outside his house apart from one attempt which led to him collapsing, it is believed Luke is allergic to the sun amongst other things.

Scarlett Thomas writes quirky characters who I always wish actually existed so I could be-friend them. There are sprinklings of mathe
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, english-lit
Another of Thomas’ hard-to-find early novels. This one is about twentysomething Luke, who has a rare disease that makes it impossible for him to go outside, and Julie, who goes out in the world but is afraid of everything she finds there. The two of them, along with an assortment of their friends—a girl who just won the lottery, a guy with testicular cancer, a girl who thinks she’s a witch, a girl whose boyfriend died tragically—all set out to find a cure for Luke.

I knew how this boo
Lolly K Dandeneau
I am on a Thomas kick, she is such fun to read. Sprinkling of math, science, philosophy- I am really glad I stumbled accidentally upon this author.
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, fiction
Weird. Not as delightfully insane as Thomas's more recent books, but I can definitely see the seeds of books to come in this. I really don't know how I feel about this; absent of expectation I may have liked it more or I may have quit partway through. It's not as full of random ideas and information that the author (and me, usually) finds interesting and the ideas that are there are old hat to me (imaginary numbers, Schroedinger's cat). On the other hand, it name-dropped Sabrina the Teenage Witc ...more
May 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Yet another Thomas book where it's pleasant to read...and then the ending is complete nonsense or simply just falls flat and means I've wasted 400-odd pages. I don't even have anything to say about this book. It was just...meh.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Im going to go with "meh" for this book. It's really well written and characters are great. But as a whole I'm feeling "meh" after finishing.
Kristy Newton
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty charming story about fear and what it does to a person and how it can make you live a small life. I loved the ending!
Kate Mccarthy
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I discovered this author on holiday in Devon and always enjoy her books.
So cute
Laura J. W.
I found out about this book when it first came out in 2002 while I was browsing the awesome books coming out of HarperCollins and Random House and their assorted satellite divisions — it seems you could spit and hit one at any given time. Shoot, just the idea that it’s a story about a dude allergic to EVERYTHING, and is stuck in his mother’s house for 25 years is crazy. The television, the internet, and his friends are his only points of reference to the outside world — it’s quite pitiful when y ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: other-fiction
I am desperately in need of someone to talk to about Scarlett Thomas. Her novels are always about intelligent but dysfunctional twenty-somethings that go on some sort of psuedo-philosophical journey, the writing itself is hit and miss, and the endings always leave me feeling out of sorts and somewhat unsatisfied. And yet I can't stop reading this bloody woman's books!

'Going Out' is about Luke, a twenty-five year old who is allergic to the sun and therefore has never left his room, an
Sascha Altschuler
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I loved S. Thomas's "The End of Mr. Y" but "Going out", "The Seed Collectors" and "Our tragic Universe" all seems anti-climatic. The premise is great, the writing is exciting and keeps you reading but the endings are weak and unfulfilling. I liked reading Going Out but in the end it felt a little bit like a waste of time. I'm still waiting for the writer to come up with a new Mr Y :)
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
What a book! Utterly brilliant to be sure. I loved the characters. Everyone was good at something and scared for something. I really liked Chantal's character, she was very poor at first but then won the lottery and with to money she bought a house for her mother totally designed and everything. Eventually she even takes David (a boy with cancer) with her to America to get him cured. She is really nice and has an int resting story to tell about her life. Actually all the characters have amazingl ...more
Becky Douglas
Going Out is a book I liked in spite of myself. It seemed, at first glance, superficial and daft. A man who's allergic to the sun, the girl who has been his best friend since childhood. Drugs, casual sex, academic prospects rejected out of anxiety, friends who are only friends due to long proximity - there's the potential for something interesting there, but it's not exactly fertile ground for saying anything that hasn't been said before.

Then, completely out of the blue, it turns out
May 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I wasn't too impressed with this book for several reasons:
1. I knew Luke's outcome all along and thought it was very unrealistic that neither him or his friends had figured this out donkeys years ago
2. When I first started the book the writing felt a bit forced, it didn't feel natural and didn't seem to flow well. After a bit it did start to flow although every so often there was a bit that felt forced again.
3. I didn't see the point of all the characters, yeah I
Apr 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This is Scarlett Thomas’ second novel and the fourth one of hers that I have read. I have trouble pinpointing why, but I love her books, her style and her ideas, particularly her blend of physics and metaphysics, even if they flummox me. Like John Irving, she has certain themes and characters that appear in most of her books (at least those that I have read): neurotic paranoia, bullying, homeopathy (which didn’t actually occur in this title), math, physics, obsessions with pop culture, etc. This ...more
Italo  Perazzoli
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of Luke is not simple, he has a rare illness, he is forced to live in a room without light and it must be sterilized, if he does not follow these rules he can die.

His contact with the outside world is a girl called Julie.

The personality of Julie is particular, she is afraid of everything, she is obsessed by the planes and bacteria, she think that, in a couple of hours, she will eat a poisoned food.

Surprisingly there is a strong feeling between Luke an
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
It's unsurprising to me that I enjoyed this book, since I lap up anything Scarlett Thomas puts out. When I bought and read this one (a little while back now) it was incredibly difficult to find and I had to hunt it down second hand on Amazon. Hopefully with the success Thomas has enjoyed with her most recent novels it will soon be much easier to get a copy of Going Out, because it's definitely worth reading.

The characters in the novel are well written. They act consistently whilst al
Mikki Crisostomo
Scarlett Thomas's The End of Mr. Y is one of the books I absolutely fell in love with, on nearly every level, but it was the only book of hers I could get my hands on for years. So when I saw that they'd republished Going Out (and Our Tragic Universe, which I'll be reading next), you can imagine my intense delight.

As the synposis says, this is the story of Luke, who's deathly allergic to everything, and Julie, who's terrified of everything. They've cocooned themselves in their little lives physic
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: england
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annemieke Windt
I am still trying to make up my mind about Scarlett Thomas's novel Going Out. There were things that I'd loved and things that I wasn't sure about. What's great about the story is the premise of the story. Luke, a young man who's never been outside because of a sunlight allergy, and his friend Julie who is afraid of a lot of things. They set of through the UK to go to a healer who is in Wales. Four friends joing them in the journey.

I liked the depictions on work and the shopping mall
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
I very much enjoyed The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas, and her next novel, Pop Co, is one of my favourites. However I was disappointed by Our Tragic Universe. When I saw Going Out in the shops I was excited but I didn't immediately feel the need to buy it as I had with Our Tragic Universe, not because it didn't sound interesting, but because I didn't want another let down.

I can't exactly say Going Out was a let down, but I think that was more due to the fact that I didn't go into it
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was just sort of meh. Maybe 2.5 stars, but it's getting bumped up instead of down because at least I was mildly interested in the storyline. Cool idea; someone who's never been outside their house could be really interesting. Decent writing- kept me engaged, at least. But... there was just something lacking. There were a couple of interesting ideas, but they were touched on way too lightly and infrequently. The whole "We are smart intelligent people who do drugs and smoke all the time but s ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
This is definitely my least favourite Scarlett Thomas book. I loved the premise of it initially, but it was just so unconvincing. I think it would have made more sense to me if the characters were all a bit younger (16/17 maybe) as they are in their mid-twenties but all so timid, scared, naive, angsty and well, stupid. (Had they never even ordered take-away pizza before? And the whole 'I think I'm a witch'. Jesus)

It seemed pretty obvious to me from the begi
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Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her widely-acclaimed novels include PopCo, The End of Mr Y and The Seed Collectors. As well as writing literary fiction for adults, she has also written a literary fantasy series for children and a book about writing called Monkeys with Typewriters. Her work has been translated into more than 25 languages.

She has been longlisted for the Orange Prize, sh
“In real life nothing means anything. Stuff happens and there just is no structure.” 17 likes
“Most people would look at an animal in a cage and instinctively feel that it should be set free. . . . It's a dangerous world out there, filled with predators. . . . What would you prefer? A comfortable, safe, warm, cosy life in a cage, or an uncertain life of freedom.” 11 likes
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