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 ...
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.
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."
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.