Inside: Book summary and reviews of Inside by Alix Ohlin

Inside

By Alix Ohlin

Inside

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Book Summary

From the highly acclaimed author of The Missing Person and Babylon and Other Stories, a resonant novel of entwined lives and a woman with an unsettling ability to broach the innermost dynamics of the people around her.

When Grace, an exceedingly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man who has just failed to hang himself, her instinct to help kicks in immediately. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away from home and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, who is a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the many dangers as well as the imperative of making ourselves available to - and responsible for - those dearest to us.

Shortlisted for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Superb [and] captivating… Next to brilliant phrases and scenes of laugh-eliciting satiric jabs, there are brutal, heartbreaking circumstances." - Bret Josef Grubisic, National Post

"Ohlin's combination of smooth prose, thematic reach and structural ambition makes for a novel that is both easily accessible and demanding in the best of ways… What's true of all good fiction applies even more emphatically here: Inside, though fully satisfying the first time through, all but demands a second reading. It's something most readers will be more than happy to do." - Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette

"Spanning a twelve-year period, the story moves briskly between New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Kigali, and the Inuit community of Iqaluit. As the protagonists try, and fail, to establish connections with other human beings, Ohlin charts their small victories and larger disappointments. She is skilled at making her chilly cast of characters accessible, and even their most unlikely actions make sense, thanks to her tightly drawn portraits. And, while the novel's premise is hardly comic, its Hollywood scenes show off the author's satiric flair." - The New Yorker

"An original novel about a timeless theme: the persistent difficulty of loving and well-meaning people to connect to one another.... Ohlin writes in elegant prose that is flush with wit and style, as clever and smooth as Lorrie Moore.... The closing lines of Inside are like a rose in winter bloom. Ohlin's novel runs with an undercurrent of hopelessness. Her characters have a hollow-ness inside. But Inside is, ultimately, a novel about hope. It begins with a gesture of despair and ends with one of promise. Who are these people? They are all of us." - Sean Carman, The Rumpus

"Twisty, clever, and captivating... Dynamic.... There's no fuss in Ohlin's pointed prose, but plenty of insight... the title also makes for an unintended endorsement of Ohlin's skills; this cunning writer yanks you inside her world." - Mary Pols, The Philadelphia Enquirer

"Can any of us really save another person?  Or is each of us solely responsible for his or her own life?  That's the question lurking behind [this] astute novel... Ohlin is a master short-story writer (see Signs and Wonders), and the early chapters may feel like discrete tales. Very soon, though, you'll see how they're all intertwined." - Leigh Newman, Oprah.com

"Alix Ohlin's wondrously engrossing Inside and Signs and Wonders display her characteristic strengths- dynamic plots, keenly observed settings, and characters so idiosyncratic, ambivalent, and contradictory they could be your family, your neighbors, people you work with… She has a rare gift for examining the confusions of the 21st century, exploring the ways in which addictions, afflictions, attractions, and random impulses shape our lives.  Her intense and beautifully shaped new novel and stories offer tentative yet illuminating answers." - Jane Ciabattari, The Boston Globe

"A writer who should be famous… Ohlin has as unsettling an old soul as Leonard Cohen's." - T.F. Rigelhof, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"Twisty, clever, and captivating… this cunning writer yanks you inside her world." - Mary Pols, The San Francisco Chronicle

"You can't help but become invested in Inside. Ohlin displays a profound empathy for people at their least rational- and most human." - Entertainment Weekly

"A memorable read….consistently surprising, often devastating as the protagonists find themselves unable to share what's on the inside." - BookPage

The information about Inside shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Alix Ohlin is the author of The Missing Person, a novel; Babylon and Other Stories; and Signs and Wonders, a new collection. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on public radio's Selected Shorts. She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she teaches at Lafayette College.

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