Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Outlander (2007)

Last year I posted something on Newfoundland-based writer Lisa Moore's excellent short story collection Open (2002) as an example of a book published ages ago that I finally got around to reading. The latest example is Ontario writer Gil Adamson's The Outlander, a gripping novel about a young woman on the run from her dead husband's brothers in 1903. Adamson's Mary is a cursor moving over the Western Canadian landscape, where each clicked-on encounter brings the secretive Mary into deeper relief.

There's lots of strong writing in this Cormac McCarthy-esque western, and the strength of it is Mary's strength, too, regardless of her reason or reasons for killing her husband (I have read up to Page 135, a third of the book). My favourite of Mary's many remembrances are those of her father and his mother, Mary's grandmother. Mary's father was a High Anglican minister or priest who left the ambiguity(?) of the clergy for the certainty(?) of law, much to the chagrin of his deeply religious mother, whose faith extends beyond Christianity to the occult:

"Her grandmother thought there was nothing so alluring as the unknown, a world revealed in seances, in art, and in the inscrutable code of the palm. It was written in tea leaves and cards -- all of it infused with Christian hope, because these things belonged to God, and He could always be appealed to. Her father, however, felt the mistake lay in the asking, in the infantile need for answers when there were none." (129)

No comments:

Post a Comment