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Going Out Paperback – June 8, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (June 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400075319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400075317
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,994,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

Thomas is one of a group of young British writers who call themselves the New Puritans and advocate telling stories as straightforwardly as possible. Here a young man allergic to sunlight spends his days in a heavily curtained suburban bedroom, his impressions of the outside world entirely mediated through American TV sitcoms. Meanwhile, his best friend, a math whiz, languishes as a waitress at a local pizza parlor because she's terrified of everything beyond her home town. When these misfits hear of a Chinese healer, they decide to find him, and they venture out in an old VW van. The heliophobe wraps himself in tin foil and the coward sticks to low-speed roads that appear "yellow" on the map, so that we can't miss the "Wizard of Oz" parallel. The novel succeeds as a quirky, affectionate satire of brand-saturated Britain, but its antic plot veers toward the cutesy, and the prose, deliberately—indeed, puritanically—banal, never lets the characters burst into Technicolor.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

From Booklist

Slacker lit is so 1992--the year of Coupland's Generation X--but Thomas, a dewy talent much touted in the UK, gives smirking satire a warmer heart in this contemporary quest novel. Its twentysomethings languish in the suburban wastelands of Essex, engaging the world primarily through e-mail, the Internet, and American sitcoms and movies. Luke, at least, has an excuse for his narrow existence: he's allergic to sunshine and can't leave his bedroom. When a distant spiritual healer claims to have a cure, Luke and his friends set off on a road trip that symbolizes breaking free, taking risks, living. The theme of self-discovery weighs a bit heavily, as does the Wizard of Oz framework (Luke wears a tinfoil suit; his best friend, Julie, is a clinical coward; and they're all off to see the guru). Gen Xers will probably skip this nostalgia trip, but members of Gen Y are likely to embrace the pop-culture references and the characters' rambling conversations on everything from crap jobs to New Age lifestyles to imaginary numbers. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include Bright Young Things, Going Out, PopCo and The End of Mr.Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Fletcher on December 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I first discovered Scarlett Thomas when I read "The End of Mr Y", which has to be my favorite novel of the last five years. I've been working my way through everything she's written, and "Going Out" is number three for me. It's a very pleasant read, with a small dose of the kind of wacky existential philosophy which made Mr. Y such a good read, and plenty of well-observed characters from unfashionable Essex who I'm sure are very close to Ms Thomas's heart.

I find her novels to be deliciously escapist, and full of pop-culture references: who on the internet could forget that "The Dark Side Of The Moon" makes such a good alternative soundtrack for "The Wizard of Oz"?

I'd recommend any of her novels, even those I've not read yet ...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "stephcandance" on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Contrary to the editorial review, I'm a "Gen Xer" and very much appreciated this book's nostalgia. The story is as unrealistic as they come, but quite entertaining. Thomas did a fine job with the characters. And the Wizard of Oz touch was very charming.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scarlett Brontë on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Likeable, quirky, twenty-something, English characters trying to find their way, by deciding to go on a Wizard of Oz type quest.

Thomas writes odd and honest characters in a way that exposes truths about being human, while keeping the narrative light and fast paced.

I read her book Popco, too and will check out whatever else she writes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rosemary Thyme on October 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, although it wasn't as good as Scarlett Thomas's other books that I have read. The plot is so far-fetched and unusual, and it really grabbed my attention. I was disappointed when it had to end, but at the same point I couldn't put it down because I was so curious what would happen next. I also like how Thomas so eloquently captured the details of today's world, complete with references to popular TV shows, movies, books, Internet sites, and modern conviences such as mobile phones (that means cell phones for those of us in the US). People will read this book twenty years from now and have an idea of what life was like in the early 21st century.
If you haven't read any of Scarlett Thomas's books yet, I recommend that you start with "The End of Mr. Y" rather than "Going Out." However, if you are already a fan of Scarlett Thomas, you'll probably enjoy "Going Out." I especially recommend it to fans of "The Wizard of Oz," which has many parallels to this book. Both books are about a journey to a unknown yet powerful person who supposedly can help the characters find what they have always been looking for. They don't know much about this person who they believe will help them, but they are willing to risk everything they have to get to him. Also, "Going Out" contains many Oz-inspired images, such the green sparkly carpet, the yellow road, the suit of tin foil, the storms, and the witches. However, the characters do not necessarily correspond to the Oz characters, so don't waste your time figuring out if Julie is supposed to be the Scarecrow or the Cowardly Lion, or whether Charlotte or Chantal represents Dorothy.
Also worth noting: Scarlett Thomas seems to have a particular interest in mice. The small furry rodents make an important appearance in this book as well as in "The End of Mr. Y."
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By rantboi VINE VOICE on February 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think Ms. Thomas might be one of my favorite writers at the moment. This is my fourth novel by her, and I must say I enjoyed it very much. The characters are just weird enough to be interesting and the story kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. It was a very enjoyable read, with likable characters and an off-beat plot. If you've read and liked any of her other novels, there's a pretty good chance that you'll like this novel, too. There's a Wizard of Oz parallel to the story, but you don't have to be a fan of Wizard of Oz to enjoy Going Out. It works pretty well on its own terms.

Recommended if you like fiction that makes you think, while also keeping you entertained.

Here is how I would rate the four novels I've read by her:

The End of Mr. Y (5 stars) - My favorite. If you've never read Ms. Thomas, start here.
Our Tragic Universe (4 stars)
Going Out (4 stars)
PopCo (3 and a 1/2 stars)

I'm looking forward to hunting down Bright Young Things, her other novel, sometime soon.
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