Reading the Chunksters discussion

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
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Archived 2014 Group Reads > 07/21 Outlander by Gabaldon, Chapters 17-20

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message 1: by Zulfiya (last edited Jul 23, 2014 02:50PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Zulfiya (ztrotter) Please post your thoughts concerning the next chapters. This week we are discussing chapters 17-20.

Personally, I do not know how to summarize my thoughts. I did read 50 plus extra pages, but the plot does not stick with me. To me the books looks like a body of water that flows without any particular purpose. I do not see the conflict: Claire is totally complacent with her position in the eighteenth century , and she only mentioned her husband once. Granted, it is a signal about the type of relationship they had, but I am sure there were other people she was attached to because she is not exactly the rolling stone.

The two sexual intercourses that took place in the presence of other people, first in the camp, and then when they were caught 'in flagrante delicto' by some English soldiers made me roll my eyes.

I can accept the risque sex scene is o'k, but then again the repetition of the same device? Mauvais ton, Ms. Gabaldon.

The most engaging part of the novel so far for me is when Claire was learning how to use her dagger and stab an attacker. In addition, I also appreciate that the novel historically is well researched with place names, historical details, background stories, the knowledge of clans' infrastructure and legal codes, but I am reading the book of fiction, and I would like to enjoy the fictional part of it; in fact, its non-fictional aspects are the most appealing.

The books is definitely unusual because it is at the cross-road of different genres, but the novelty of a steaming romance in the eighteenth century with the protagonist from the twentieth century is wearing out very quickly.

Sorry for many complains - it is only my opinion. I hope some of you find the book interesting, engaging, refreshing, and entertaining, and I also hope you will help me how to enjoy this novel. Otherwise, I am getting quite "desperate". It is one thing to suffer through William Gaddis or James Joyce or Iris Murdoch or other existentialists or modernists or experimentalists - at least the ideas are great, the topics are very serious, and the language is challenging, or one of those, but I feel cheated when I am asked to suffer through the novel with little literary value ...


Zulfiya (ztrotter) P.S. A nurse could not recognize Latin and confused it with Gaelic? Well, medical professionals, if they do not take Latin courses for pharmacological needs, they necessarily take medical terminology where they study Latin roots, prefixes, and basic word building, even for basic medical degrees. So something does not match here ... :-)


Deana (ablotial) I would like to enjoy the fictional part of it; in fact, its non-fictional aspects are the most appealing.

I agree with this, although I am not finding the fictional parts as off-putting as you apparently are. But the historical aspects are much more interesting and engaging. I agree that the part where Claire learned to use the dagger was my favorite part of this section.

And I also agree that I had the same thought when she was unable to recognize Latin... that seemed a little strange given her profession ... and at least in the US during the time Claire would have grown up Latin was very commonly a required subject in school. Hmmmm.

I am wondering if Claire will end up pregnant with Jamie's child and then get to meet her own ancestors (assuming she makes it back to the ... present? future? whatever). I also have weird images of her telling Frank what an asshole his ancestor was (since Frank seems to think he was pretty great based on the evidence available in his time).

As for how to enjoy the book, I think it all boils down to expectations. I was mainly just expecting a summer read that didn't require much brain power, and that's what I got, so I'm pretty happy with it, and pleasantly surprised by the interesting historical aspects of the book. But if you were expecting a literary masterpiece, then I can definitely see how this would be disappointing. Not everyone will like every book, and I think that's ok.


JoLene (trvl2mtns) I agree with Deana that this book was never intended to be a literary masterpiece. I also did not have high expectations in that regard and read it as a "beach read".

For me --- I really enjoyed the historical aspects (medical, clan structure, Jacobite info), so I was pretty happy with it. Possibly, because I just powered through this (listening on audio mostly) and did not spend so much time between chapters. Maybe this book is better as a "binge" read vs a savoring read.


Zulfiya (ztrotter) I am sure it is mostly my personal problem - I never expected anything on par with Fowles or John Irving, but I at least hoped it would be less cheesy.

I am surprised how this book could combine historicity, good research in many fields - medicine, legal system, Jacobites, the system of clans, etc, and be such an average book when it comes to the most essential part of any fiction - true fiction. I know it is an oxymoron, but fiction does contain that element of truth - real human emotions, real flesh and blood people, existential problems, mundanity like Claire's menstruation cycle and how to brush teeth and how uncomfortable it is to use latrines, etc. Some mundane issues would have made the story more likable and more believable. I think this is one of the most achievements in fiction - it can seem real even if the premises for events are very, very far-fetched.

P.S. As for her monthly cycle, and as Deanna mentioned, she might have already conceived - who knows :-)


Michelle (michelle8731) JoLene wrote: "I agree with Deana that this book was never intended to be a literary masterpiece. I also did not have high expectations in that regard and read it as a "beach read".

For me --- I really enjoye..."


I guess this is where I put it too. I enjoyed reading it, and I definitely think it worked well as a binge read. It's not a difficult read that necessitates being read slowly for understanding as other books do.


Izzy Holmes | 46 comments I agree with Michelle I do didn't expect too much in the way of plot and so though I am finding the sex scenes laughable at times I found the story is better if I just skim over them. I have read another chapter and got ahead so I will finish this book How many weeks do you think have gone by ?


JoLene (trvl2mtns) I'm not sure if this is anyone's cup of tea, but right now I'm reading Shadow of Night which is the 2nd book in a trilogy. In this book, the main characters travel back in time and the 21st century woman does have a lot of issues with language, clothes, how woman were treated.

Warning: the main characters are a witch and a vampire --- however, but they are portrayed more as "real people".


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