The Outside Lands (Hardcover)

A Novel

By Hannah Kohler

St. Martin's Press, 9781250080929, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 23, 2016

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (8/22/2016)
Paperback (8/8/2017)
Pre-Recorded Audio Player (8/23/2016)

List Price: 25.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


San Francisco, 1968: Jeannie and Kip are bereaved and adrift, their mother dead under mysterious circumstances, and their father--a decorated World War II veteran--consumed by guilt and losing control of his teenage children. Kip, a dreamer and swaggerer prone to small-time trouble, enlists with the Marines to fight in Vietnam. Jeannie finds a seemingly safe haven in early marriage to a doctor and motherhood.

But when Kip is accused of a terrible military crime, Jeannie is seduced--sexually, emotionally, politically--into joining an underground antiwar organization. As Jennie attempts to save her brother, her search for the truth leads her into two dangerous relationships, with a troubled young woman and a grievously wounded veteran, that might threaten her marriage, her child, and perhaps her life.

This is the story of a family caught in the maelstrom of sweeping change, where social customs and traditional values are overturned by events that will transform America. An emotionally wrenching and morally complex novel, The Outside Lands is Hannah Kohler's powerful, confident debut and announces her as a remarkable new literary talent.

About the Author

Hannah Kohler was raised on the south coast of England. She studied English and American Literature at Cambridge University and Business Administration at Oxford University. A passionate writer since childhood, Kohler quit her job to enroll in graduate school for creative writing, where she wrote The Outside Lands. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Praise For The Outside Lands: A Novel

"[The Outside Lands] progresses into something wholly original: dark, rich, and morally challenging." —Kirkus Reviews

"It is with the Vietnam War chapters that the author distinguishes herself. You would have to go back to Susan Fromberg Schaeffer’s Buffalo Afternoon to find a novel written by a civilian that so totally captures the nightmarish, psychedelic feel of a war that refuses to be relegated to the dusty pages of history." —Publishers Weekly

“I just finished The Outside Lands and it's been quite a ride. This book is full of visceral human truths and reminded me of an important one I've had to learn over and over again: often the choice is not between light and dark, but between different kinds of darkness. The Outside Lands is going to win prizes.” —Alice Adams, author of Invincible Summer

"The Outside Lands by Hannah Kohler is a considerable achievement of exhumed history, of both the intimate family variety and that of our broader national fates. Lurking behind the private drama is the nagging question of the cost of sacrifice for a misbegotten war, an inquiry that remains as dismayingly urgent now as it was fifty years ago. But the emotional heart here is the story of one sister's extraordinary devotion, and of how modest lives can be derailed by a grievous error. The Outside Lands is a fine and moving portrait of family ties in wartime." —Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed, and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

“The Outside Lands, a masterly retelling of those dozen capricious, war torn, love soaked and chaotic years between the Beatles’ first LP and the fall of Saigon, is gloriously well-written and deeply imagined—and all the more remarkable for being Hannah Kohler’s fiction debut.”—Jim Crace, author of Harvest, Being Dead, and Quarantine

"A book that is both sensitive and powerful, a marvel of historical accuracy and a riveting read." —Donna Leon