Released on 25 August 2016.

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The Outside Lands

3.88 based on 140 ratings & 30 reviews on Goodreads.com

2017 Long-listed

International Dylan Thomas Prize

Synopsis

'Masterly . . . gloriously well-written and deeply imagined' Jim Crace

Jeannie is nineteen when the world changes, Kip only fourteen. The sudden accident that robs them of their mother leaves them adrift, with only their father to guide them. Jeannie seeks escape in work and later marriage to a man whose social connections propel her into an unfamiliar world of wealth and politics. Ill-equipped and unprepared, Jeannie finds comfort where she can. Meanwhile Kip's descent into a life of petty crime is halted only when he volunteers for the Marines.

By 1968, the conflict in Vietnam is at its height, and with the anti-war movement raging at home, Jeannie and Kip are swept along by events larger than themselves, driven by disillusionment to commit unforgiveable acts of betrayal that will leave permanent scars.

The Outside Lands is the story of people caught in the slipstream of history, how we struggle in the face of loss to build our world, and how easily and with sudden violence it can be swept away. With extraordinary skill and accuracy, Hannah Kohler takes us from 1960s California to Vietnam, capturing what it means to live through historic times. This powerful debut novel announces Kohler as a remarkable new literary talent.

'Astonishing - jagged, fresh and startlingly alive.' Daily Mail

In the media

Utterly enthralling and brilliantly drawn, The Outside Lands took me from the jungles of Vietnam to the domesticity of 1960s America. Hannah Kohler is a remarkable talent.
Emma Chapman
I just finished The Outside Lands and it's been quite a ride. This book is full of visceral human truths and reminded me of an important one I've had to learn over and over again: often the choice is not between light and dark, but between different kinds of darkness. The Outside Lands is going to win prizes.
Alice Adams
'There's an arbitrariness to choosing any "best" book, but I'd nominate Hannah Kohler's debut novel The Outside Lands (Picador) as the "most surprising" 2016 release that I've encountered so far. In this Vietnam-era story, a California family is imploded first by private tragedy, then by the war itself. Yet the author is a Brit writing about a time before she was born. You'd never know it. Her ear for American dialogue is flawless, her historical details spot on. The quality of the writing, too, is astonishing. I wasn't exactly in the mood to re-enter the 1960s of my youth, but Kohler won me over. Should you feel a similar resistance to this oft-visited subject matter, get over it.
Financial Times