Chosen by Rachel
The Outcast tells the story of a man, recently released from prison, recalling his life as a boy who refused to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community
❚ “In 1957 19-year-old Lewis Aldridge returns home after two years in jail, finding things to be the same as he’d left them, in particular his emotionally-disabled father, Gilbert.
“Lewis goes on to recall his childhood, of 12 years prior when in 1945 he meets his father for the first time, newly returned from the war. Life awkwardly ekes by with none of the parties sure how to interact with the other. Then, one day there is a tragedy in the family, which sets Lewis on a path of violence and emotional estrangement, until he ends up in prison.
“However, his return home upon his release has dramatic consequences for his whole community, which is a postwar provincial English society full of folk unwilling to question the past or the present. Lewis has had enough of tip-toeing around however.
There was a sudden stillness like the gap between ticks on a clock, but the next tick never coming.
❚ “This is a heavy novel. Weighty in themes, drama and suspense. The entire book is narrated by 19-year-old Lewis, so the depth of his emotion is heavily laid at our feet for we only have his point of view to go by. There are a lot of intense morals and moments in this book, so it’s not for the light hearted but it will reward those who love to be moved by fiction.” – Rachel
❚ “This book is a little depressing – the main character has an awfully tragic loss to bear and a father who offers him no real love. Lewis Aldridge has been very well developed and I felt a lot of sympathy for him. The weird maternal-sexual tension is nicely disturbing and adds to the tension. An enjoyable read for me.” – Jo