From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Set in post WWII suburban London, this superb debut novel charts the downward spiral and tortured redemption of a young man shattered by loss. The war is over, and Lewis Aldridge is getting used to having his father, Gilbert, back in the house. Things hum along splendidly until Lewis's mother drowns, casting the 10-year-old into deep isolation. Lewis is ignored by grief-stricken Gilbert, who remarries a year after the death, and Lewis's sadness festers during his adolescence until he boils over and torches a church. After serving two years in prison, Lewis returns home seeking redemption and forgiveness, only to find himself ostracized. The town's most prominent family, the Carmichaels, poses particular danger: terrifying, abusive patriarch Dicky (who is also Gilbert's boss) wants to humiliate him; beautiful 21-year-old Tamsin possesses an insidious coquettishness; and patient, innocent Kit—not quite 16 years old—confounds him with her youthful affection. Mutual distrust between Lewis and the locals grows, but Kit may be able to save Lewis. Jones's prose is fluid, and Lewis's suffering comes across as achingly real. (Mar.)
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“Riveting…A superb debut novel about repression, rebellion, and moving on…The tension in THE OUTCAST is palpable and sensuous, beating loudly beneath the tranquil surface of Jones’s calm prose, and Lewis never disappoints in his fight for an ‘after’ that is happy and shame-free.” (Elaina Richardson, O magazine)
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“With her lush writing and tantalizing sense of setting and detail, Jones has written a novel that stands apart from rote imitation, and...offers the welcome promise of a literary career of originality and distinction.” (Boston Globe)
“One of the more subtle of the…hot debut novelists…this season” (New York Sun)
“An arresting story” (Washington Post Book World)
“Beautifully delicate...ever more compelling as Jones builds in a palpable sense of suspense.” (Booklist (starred review))
“A superb debut novel…Jones’s prose is fluid, and Lewis’s suffering comes across as achingly real.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))