Message

Error
  • Table './litlover_jo151/gztn_jxlabels_maps' is marked as crashed and should be repaired SQL=SELECT l.label_id, l.title, l.alias FROM gztn_jxlabels_labels AS l LEFT JOIN gztn_jxlabels_maps AS m ON m.label_id = l.label_id WHERE l.state = 1 AND m.item_id = 727 AND m.type_id = 1 AND l.access <= 0 ORDER BY l.ordering ASC
guide_727.jpg

Outlander (Gabaldon)

Outlander 
Diana Gabaldon, 1991
Random House
850 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780440212560


Summary 
Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio 
Birth—January 11, 1952
Where—Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Education—B.S., Northern Arizona University; M.S., Scripps
   Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University
Awards—Favorite Book of the Year, Romance Writers of
   America, 1991 (for Outlander); Romantic Times Career
   Achievement Award, 1997; Odom Heritage Award, 2000;
   Quill Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, 2006
Currently—lives in Flagstaff, Arizona  


To millions of fans, Diana Gabaldon is the creator of a complex, original, and utterly compelling amalgam of 18th-century romantic adventure and 20th-century science fiction. To the publishing industry, she's a grassroots-marketing phenomenon. And to would-be writers everywhere who worry that they don't have the time or expertise to do what they love, Gabaldon is nothing short of an inspiration.

Gabaldon wrote her first novel while juggling the demands of motherhood and career: in between her job as an ecology professor, she also had a part-time gig writing freelance software reviews. Gabaldon had never written fiction before, and didn't intend to publish this first novel, which she decided to call Outlander. This, she decided, would be her "practice novel." Worried that she might not be able to pull a plot and characters out of thin air, she settled on a historical novel because "it's easier to look things up than to make them up entirely."

The impulse to set her novel in 18th-century Scotland didn't stem—as some fans have assumed—from a desire to explore her own familial roots (in fact, Gabaldon isn't even Scottish). Rather, it came from watching an episode of the British sci-fi series Dr. Who and becoming smitten with a handsome time traveler in a kilt. A time-travel element crept into Gabaldon's own book only after she realized her wisecracking female lead couldn't have come from anywhere but the 20th century. The resulting love affair between an intelligent, mature, sexually experienced woman and a charismatic, brave, virginal young man turned the conventions of historical romance upside-down.

Gabaldon has said her books were hard to market at first because they were impossible to categorize neatly. Were they historical romances? Sci-fi adventure stories? Literary fiction? Whatever their genre (Gabaldon eventually proffered the term "historical fantasias"), they eventually found their audience, and it turned out to be a staggeringly huge one.

Even before the publication of Outlander, Gabaldon had an online community of friends who'd read excerpts and were waiting eagerly for more. (In fact, her cohorts at the CompuServe Literary Forum helped hook her up with an agent.) Once the book was released, word kept spreading, both on the Internet and off, and Gabaldon kept writing sequels. (When her fourth book, Drums of Autumn, was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and her publisher, Delacorte, raced to add more copies to their initial print run of 155,000.)

With her books consistently topping the bestseller lists, it's apparent that Gabaldon's appeal lies partly in her ability to bulldoze the formulaic conventions of popular fiction. Salon writer Gavin McNett noted approvingly, "She simply doesn't pay attention to genre or precedent, and doesn't seem to care that identifying with Claire puts women in the role of the mysterious stranger, with Jamie—no wimp in any regard—as the romantic 'heroine.' "

In between "Outlander" novels, Gabaldon also writes historical mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, a popular, if minor, character from the series, and is working on a contemporary mystery series. Meanwhile, the author's formidable fan base keeps growing, as evidenced by the expanding list of Gabaldon chat rooms, mailing lists, fan clubs and web sites—some of them complete with fetching photos of red-haired lads in kilts.

Extras
Outlander may have been Gabaldon's first novel, but she was already a published writer. Her credits included scholarly articles, political speeches, radio ads, computer manuals and Walt Disney comic books.

• Gabaldon gets 30 to 40 e-mails a day from her fans, who often meet online to discuss her work. "I got one letter from a woman who had been studying my book jacket photos (with a magnifying glass, evidently), who demanded to know why there was a hole in my pants," wrote Gabaldon on her web site. "This strikes me as a highly metaphysical question, which I am not equipped to answer, but which will doubtless entertain some chat-groups for quite a long time. (From Barnes & Noble.)



Book Reviews
Gabaldon is a born storyteller.
Los Angeles Daily News


Marvelously entertaining.... A page-turner of the highest order and a good read from start to finish.
Chattanooga Times


Absorbing and heartwarming, this first novel lavishly evokes the land and lore of Scotland, quickening both with realistic characters and a feisty, likable heroine. English nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall and husband Frank take a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands in 1945. When Claire walks through a cleft stone in an ancient henge, she's somehow transported to 1743. She encounters Frank's evil ancestor, British captain Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, and is adopted by another clan. Claire nurses young soldier James Fraser, a gallant, merry redhead, and the two begin a romance, seeing each other through many perilous, swashbuckling adventures involving Black Jack. Scenes of the Highlanders' daily life blend poignant emotions with Scottish wit and humor. Eventually Sassenach (outlander) Claire finds a chance to return to 1945, and must choose between distant memories of Frank and her happy, uncomplicated existence with Jamie. Claire's resourcefulness and intelligent sensitivity make the love-conquers-all, happily-ever-after ending seem a just reward.
Publishers Weekly


After being separated by seven years of World War II, Claire and Frank Randall return to the Scottish Highlands for a second honeymoon. Left to her own devices while her husband immerses himself in historical pursuits, Claire inadvertently enters a circle of standing stones and is plunged back 200 years to a Scotland on the verge of the second Jacobite uprising. Her pluck and skill as a nurse win the Scots' grudging respect, but only marriage to a Scot will save her from the clutches of Frank's vicious forbear, Black Jack Randall. Though first novelist Gabaldon uses time travel primarily to allow a modern heroine, this is basically a richly textured historical novel with an unusual and compelling love story. —Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA
Library Journal


Once-in-a-lifetime romantic passion and graphically depicted torture sessions are only the two extremes of this lively time-travel romance set in 18th-century Scotland—an imaginative and lighthearted debut by a promising newcomer. World War II has finally ended and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a British Red Cross nurse, has gone off to Scotland with her historian husband, Frank, to try to resume their married life where it left off six years before. Their diligent attempts to make a baby come to a halt, however, when Claire discovers an ancient stone circle on a nearby hilltop, slips between two mysterious-looking boulders, and is transported willy-nilly to the year 1743. Stumbling down the hillside, disoriented and confused, Claire is discovered by Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, an evil English officer who happens to be her husband's direct ancestor and physical look-alike. Randall notes Claire's revealing 1940's summer dress, assumes she is a whore, and attempts to rape her, whereupon she is rescued by the fierce MacKenzie clan, who take her to their castle and confine her there. Claire adjusts to her changed circumstances with amazing ease, using her nursing experience to tend to her hosts' illnesses while she impatiently awaits a chance to return to the circle of stones. Before she can get away, circumstances force her into a marriage with James Frazer, a Scottish renegade from English justice and Jonathan Randall's archenemy. Young Jamie's good looks, passion, and virility soon redirect Claire's energies to defending her stalwart new husband against her former mate's evil clone, and the fierce, courageous but historically doomed Scottish clans against the course of destiny itself. A satisfying treat, with extra scoops of excitement and romance that make up for certain lapses in credibility.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions 
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Outlander:

1. What kind of characters has Gabaldon has created? Given that she has created a historical / fantasy novel, are her characters realistically drawn? Are they emotionally and psychologically complex...or flat, one-dimensional and cartoonish?

2. What assumptions does Jonathan Randall make regarding Claire upon first encountering her...and why?

3. In what ways does Clair adjust to her new circumstances, and how does she put her 20th-century knowledge to work in an 18th-century world?

4. How does Clair end up marrying James Frazier, and to what extent does this marriage compromise her marriage to Frank Randall? Talk about the irony of defending her new husband against a direct ancestor and physical look-alike of her 20th-century husband?

5. How disorienting—or appealing—would it be for you to be transported back in time? How would you cope with the time change? What era would be most appealing to you to travel back to?

6. If you time-traveled, how much of the future from which you have come would you be tempted to reveal? What might you attempt to change using your knowledge of modern times?

7. The Outlander series was difficult to market, at first, not fitting into any neat genre of fiction. But it eventually caught on...and in a very big way. To what do you ascribe the huge popularity of this series? What is the fascination for its millions of readers?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

top of page (summary)

 

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2014