1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.
A decade earlier, his father's homecoming casts a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert has recently been demobbed. He reverts easily to suburban life - cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays - but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her.
Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she has been dealt by her own father's hand. Lewis's grief and burgeoning rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.
As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice.
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An elegant, subtle, haunting novel that stayed with me long after I finished it. Sadie Jones has a long literary future ahead of her -
The prose is elegant and spare, but the story it reveals is raw and explosive... Devastatingly good' - Daily Mail
Jones's story is imbued with brooding atmosphere and drama. Understated and elegantly narrated with attention to period detail, this is a gripping love story with a twist. If you liked Atonement by Ian McEwan, you'll love this - Harper's Bazaar
Eminently readable first novel....reads like a thriller, the tension and menace build expertly...a powerful, promising first novel - Financial Times
She writes with simmering intensity... particularly strong on atmosphere... Jones uses small, startling phrases to convey depths of passion and information and she can make seemingly innocuous passages radiate beauty - Sunday Telegraph
A dark but beautifully written, heart-wringing suspense tale... The claustrophobic, menacing atmosphere of Sadie Jones's page-turning debut never lets up, and that's admirable enough, but it's more than narrative tension that makes the novel special. Her writing is deeply affecting... the quality of the writing and the desire to see justice done keep one reading avidly - Independent on Sunday
Controlled, insightful first novel... Comparisons with Ian McEwan are inevitable, but Jones's assured, compassionate writing is satisfyingly original - Guardian
This hotly-tipped debut certainly delivers. The prose is clean and clear; so disciplined and spare - Independent
Sadie Jones proves she's no novice when it comes to poignant prose with this, her debut novel... The sense of mounting suspense coupled with the beautifully drawn characterisation makes this a novel that's guaranteed to get right under your skin - Glamour
This elegantly written debut novel brings to life both her alienated and damaged protagonist and the small minded community that condemns him - Sunday Times
The writing is impressive from the start, both succinct and fluent - TLS
Sadie Jones' take on an introverted and self-destructive teen is fresh and believable... An assured and engaging debut **** - Metro
My Life in Books: 'It's an incredible, dark, emotional story. - Easy Living
Beautifully crafted, wonderfully filmic, very real and emotional. It keeps you guessing. All you want in a book - Daily Express