The Outlander by Gil Adamson, House of Anansi Press, 2007 –
It begins in the frontier west – the age of horse and buggy with a widow in flight. She’s young and on the run after having killed her husband. She’s barely keeping ahead of two armed and dangerous looking men – her brothers-in-law. We get fleeting intimations about something to do with her child – the reason for murder? The widow finds brief sanctuary in the home of an elderly woman. The widow helps herself to a few of the old lady’s possessions, including a horse with which she flees into the mountains. Alas, she isn’t someone who knows how to live off the land and is soon close to death by starvation.
So far, it sounds like the kind of story that could grab a reader and keep them engrossed and flipping pages to the end – an award-winning novel. I don’t know what it is about Adamson’s style that bogged me down. Was it the dense descriptive prose or the ridiculous means of salvation from starvation? By the time a wolf pack raced past the widow, leaving her a fine haunch of venison to quell her hunger, I had so little interest in her character and her plight that I closed the book. I was wondering why the wolves didn’t sprinkle the meat with herbs and garnish it with forest vegetables.
By all means have a go. Obviously an agent, a publisher and a prize jury loved it. À chacun son goût, as the French say (‘to each his own’ for the rest of us).
The Election in Kanadoodle? A snooze fest by any standard and, although we still have Dustbin Truthless as our Prime Ribber, the citizens of Kanadoodle were clever enough to vote for the better governance model – another minority government where no single party of bozos can inflict their ideology without the blessing of at least one other party.