The novel was written by an English writer Diana Gabaldon and published by Dell Books on June 1, 1991. The book came into being accidentally, as an experiment. As Gabaldon claims “I decided to write a novel for practice, in order a) to learn what it took to write a novel, and b) to decide whether I really wanted to do that for real.” (Source: http://www.dianagabaldon.com). It is quite hard to classify the novel by a single genre, since it incorporates elements coming from diverse literary categories. The author describes her work in the following way: ” Frankly, I have never been able to describe this book in twenty-five words or less, and neither has anyone else in the twenty years since it was first published. I have seen it (and the rest of the series) sold—with evident success—as <deep breath> Literature, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical NON-fiction (Really. Well, they are very accurate), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Military History (No, honest), Gay and Lesbian Fiction, and…Horror. (Really! One of my books beat both George R.R. Martin and Stephen King for a Quill Award in 2006.) Anyway, the only way I have ever found of describing this book to anyone is to begin telling them the story.” (Source: http://www.dianagabaldon.com). The novel is the first book in the Outlander series, which encompasses the following works:
1. Outlander (1991)
2. Dragonfly In Amber (1992)
3. Voyager (1994)
4. Drums Of Autumn (1997)
5. The Fiery Cross (2001)
6. A Breath Of Snow And Ashes (2005)
7. An Echo In The Bone (2009)
8. Written In My Own Heart’s Blood (will be released in 2013)
It is the year 1946, World War II is over and a young, ex-combat nurse Claire Beauchamp Randall spends a second honeymoon with her husband Frank, who was in the army as well and with whom she has been separated for six years, in the Scottish Highlands. The couple want to give their relationship a second life. However, everything turns upside-down when one day Claire takes a walk and comes across a circle of standing stones which are very common in this part of Great Britain. She goes through a cleft in one of the stones and disappears. It turns out that she moves back in time, back into 1743. Scared and confused she meets Jack Randal, a gentleman wearing a 18th-century army officer’s uniform, who looks just like her husband. Later on it turns out that Jack is her husband’s six-times-great-grandfather. He also reveals his true nature of a sadistic bisexual pervert. Claire tries to get out of his hands and accidentally bumps into the group of Highland Scots who are trying to escape from Jack Randal as well. As different events go by, it becomes obvious for Claire that the only way to get out of the hands of the cruel captain is to marry one of the young, Scottish clansmen, Jamie Fraser. Claire tries to escape from her just married man and come back home, to her real husband Frank. Things get complicated when she finds out that she has fallen in love with the young Scot. And here the story starts to roll on…
When I first got to know the plot overview of this novel I was not very pleased. I immediately categorized it as a lame and boring romance in which the passionate scenes of love would be the most sophisticated aspects of the book. How positively surprised I was after starting to read it. The novel turned out to be not a low-quality love story, but an interesting mixture of romance, supernatural elements and historical background. The story depicts the 18th century situation in Scotland such as the clan system, Scottish-English conflicts etc. The plot is very engrossing, since it is built up on various subsections which mixed together create one of the most interesting wholes I have ever read.
Gabaldon does not use a sophisticated language, which can be considered lame by a lot of readers. However, for me literary structures she utilizes make the novel very comprehensible and easy to follow. It enables the reader to focus completely on the plot, to get lost in pages. Just like I did.
Outlander is definitely worth recommending. It is not a stereotypical love story which only girls with romantic personality may like. It will satisfy every reader who appreciate diversity and truth that every good book has.