August 28, 2009

The Outlander - Gil Adamson

This book first came to my attention last year when it was a contender for CBC radio's Canada Reads competition, championed by actor Nicholas Campbell. With all of the coverage of the competition last winter, I heard Gil Adamson interviewed about her book, and it sounded intriguing.

A 19-year old widow, who has murdered her husband, escapes across the prairies and into the mountains, pursued by her husband's brothers. An adventure survival story. It was a good read, but I found it a bit clunky at times, and the whole ending a bit unbelievable, given everything that the reader knows about the main character.

And another thing that annoyed me was the historical incongruence. The story is set in Canada in 1903 and is told in the present tense, but occasionally the narrator slips in a much more modern reference (and unfortunately, I can't find an example just right now). As it was always with the narrator that I noticed it, and never in the dialogue, I don't know if it was a deliberate writing technique or if it was just accidental, but it did spoil my enjoyment of the book.

The book is well paced and interesting, but never seemed real to me. I probably won't go back to re-read this book in the future.

This book was read as part of The Canadian Book Challenge at The Book Mine Set.


Wanda said...

A good friend recommended this book a couple years ago but I still haven't got around to it.

Unless it's poetry, there are very few books I'll actually re-read. The Diviners is one exception and I still pull out The Mountain and the Valley every once in awhile to re-read certain passages. Do you have a lot of books that you return to or just a few treasured favourites?

Kate said...

If I like a book, I will probably re-read it at some point. Which, unfortunately, means that I buy a lot of books... You can tell how much I enjoyed a book by how worn the cover is, and some are missing the cover (and some pages) altogether! On this blog, I usually don't mention the books that I'm re-reading.
Most re-read books/authors in my library? Anne of Green Gables (and anything else by LM Montgomery); Robertson Davies; Jane Eyre; Little Women; Madeline L'Engle; Maeve Binchey. But as I said, most books in there have been read more than once. After all, if it was good the first time, it should be good on a re-read!
I usually don't re-read mysteries (unless I've forgotten the ending!), and I don't read much poetry (though when I do read it, it is usually a re-read - Leonard Cohen, John Donne).
Hmmm... The Diviners... That's one that I've only read once, even though I enjoyed it. I read Mum's copy one summer holiday back in high school. I'm going to be down there for Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks - I should borrow it again!

Wanda said...

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! Should you decide to re-read it, I'd love to hear if you enjoyed The Diviners as much the 2nd time around.