BookBrowse Reviews The Outlander by Gil Adamson

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The Outlander

by Gil Adamson

The Outlander by Gil Adamson
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2008, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2009, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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Gil Adamson's debut weds a brilliant literary style to the gripping tale of one woman's desperate escape

The Outlander opens with Mary Boulton, the widow, running headlong through the wilderness. Around her the darkness morphs into human shape, as Mary hears voices and sees abhorrent visions. Somewhere in the murky distance are her angry brothers-in-law, large and dangerous. She's a widow by her own hand, and they are pursuing her, anxious for retribution. The haunting and spine-tingling qualities of the opening pages grab the reader in a chokehold and refuse to let go.

Along Mary's escape route, she meets various eccentrics who mirror a person from her past. For example, moments or conversations with Reverend Bonnycastle remind Mary of her father, which prompts a flashback to her earlier life. This mirror-like approach allows for the reader to learn about Mary's past in measured doses. The subtle disclosure serves two purposes: primarily, it maintains a sense of ...

About the Author
Gil Adamson is the author of two books of poetry, Primitive (1991) and Ashland (2003), and a collection of short stories, Help Me, Jacques Cousteau (1995). The Outlander is her first novel and was 10 years in the making. The gothic elements in the novel stem from Adamson's love of the X-Files. She wrote a fan book, Mulder, It's Me with her sister, about the series' female star, Gillian Anderson. The idea for The Outlander started with an image in her head of "a young woman, dressed in black, running like hell." She started to write poems about the woman, but found the form too limiting. She began a larger piece, and this 'seed' image informs the opening pages of the novel.

Gil Adamson is seventh generation Canadian. Facts about her family - a homesteader whose name was Bonnycastle, like the Reverend in the novel, and a grandfather who was a ...

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