The Outlander

It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling.

Some stories are at the same time tough and easy to categorize. This novel is in the early twentieth century, so it’s history. The main character learns through a lot of hardships about life and herself, so coming of age. And it shows how women (then) were little more than goods to be exchanged between family and husband. But pulled apart like this, it lacks the mystical, the almost fairy tale feeling to some of the parts of the story.

The main character (the widow) is running after killing her husband. Her brothers-in-law are behind her, the wilderness is in front of her and she is woefully unprepared for anything that will follow.

Because what follows is not just survival and being confronted with (past) mistakes, but strangers, emotions, domestics in unlikely places. Sometimes – when the widow gets too comfortable or too delirious – this drags a little, pulling the reader down in her rut. Yet with the light, otherworldly feeling both wilderness and civilization offers, there’s enough to keep reading.

The story lingers, and may not even be finished. But that’s between the widow and the reader.

The Outlander, Gil Adamson, Harper Collins 2008

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