By Sadie Jones
Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061374043, 347pp.
Publication Date: April 2009
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In 1957 Lewis Aldridge, newly released from prison, returns home to Waterford, a suburban town outside London. He is nineteen years old. A decade earlier his father's homecoming at war's end was greeted with far less apprehension by the staid, tightly knit community--thanks to Gilbert Aldridge's easy acceptance of suburban ritual and routine. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but the entire community is shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her.
No one in Waterford wants Lewis back--except Kit, a young woman who sympathizes with his grief and burgeoning rage. But in her attempts to set them both free, Kit fails to foresee the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open. The consequences for Lewis, his family, and the tightly knit community are devastating.
“Riveting…A superb debut novel about repression, rebellion, and moving on…The tension in THE OUTCAST is palpable and sensuous, beating loudly beneath the tranquil surface of Jones’s calm prose, and Lewis never disappoints in his fight for an ‘after’ that is happy and shame-free.”
-Elaina Richardson, O magazine
“With her lush writing and tantalizing sense of setting and detail, Jones has written a novel that stands apart from rote imitation, and...offers the welcome promise of a literary career of originality and distinction.”
“One of the more subtle of the…hot debut novelists…this season”
-New York Sun
“An arresting story”
-Washington Post Book World
“Beautifully delicate...ever more compelling as Jones builds in a palpable sense of suspense.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“A superb debut novel…Jones’s prose is fluid, and Lewis’s suffering comes across as achingly real.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)