Inside

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Inside

by Alix Ohlin

House Of Anansi Press Inc | June 16, 2012 | Trade Paperback

Inside is rated 3.6 out of 5 by 5.

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and selected as an Oprah's Book Club Summer Reading Pick, an Amazon.ca Best Book, and an iTunes Store Best Book

When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward.

At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 0.69 in

Published: June 16, 2012

Publisher: House Of Anansi Press Inc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1770892060

ISBN - 13: 9781770892064

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Can we ever truly help the people we love? What about strangers? And if we try, what will that help cost us? Alix Ohlin’s beautiful first novel, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller as well as the Rogers Writers’ Trust prizes, captures lives that are damaged and hopeful, as ordinary people struggle to help those around them. At the centre of Inside is Grace, a dedicated psychotherapist, who, on a snowy morning in Montreal stumbles across an attempted suicide on Mount Royale, and finds herself drawn into the life of the man she saves. Inside grows from here to tell the stories of Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband; Annie, her troubled young patient; and Tug, the man in the snow who is haunted by the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. Their stories are braided together and told over the course of a decade in prose that, even at its most grim, is filled with light and humanity. Ohlin is a bright new talent whose confidence and voice has put her in the ranks of Canada’s best veteran writers. There are no easy answers in Inside. Ohlin recognizes that we often make the most defining choices of our lives without knowing why, and then spend years searching for meaning. For Grace, Mitch, Annie, and Tug, finding that meaning is sometimes impossible, but the wonder of Inside comes from the attempt, and the grace that comes with the acceptance of life as it is.

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Inside The first three chapters of Inside read like self-contained short stories. Each chapter features characters and settings with no apparent connection to those in the others. By chapter three, I asked myself, "Did I pick up a short story collection here?" and I checked the cover to confirm that Inside is a novel. Indeed, it is, but we don' start to see the connections until chapter four. Ohlin takes a risk with this approach; readers disconnect if not fed well enough, soon enough. I hung in there to see how everything would connect, but would everyone? The book describes the intersecting lives of a Montreal therapist, her ex-husband, and one of her patients. Each story line involves people inserting themselves into the lives of another (invading?) in a way that feels uncomfortable, even unnatural, even unbelievable to an introvert like me. None of these people lead happy, fulfilled lives. They seek compensation for their flaws through needy and manipulative interactions with others. By the end of the novel, they don't evolve much despite living through circumstances that could have provided valuable life lessons. I was left feeling unsatisfied, like I had never really stepped inside the characters to learn to understand them, never mind like them. This book received good reviews in The Globe and Mail and Quill and Quire, but The New York Times eviscerated it. All are right in their own way. This book has weaknesses, and I didn't love it, but this book has strengths, and I didn't hate it. Read it yourself to see which way you fall.
Date published: 2014-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it! This is a great book! Some people might find it depressing but really it is about the human condition, how we are vulnerable, not invincible. These characters are real...maybe the situations are not always plausible but it draws you in. You want to know more and sometimes you get more and sometimes you still want more. I kept wanting more. I zoomed through this book. I pick a lot of books that win awards or get short- or long-listed and this is another like that. It definitely deserves what it gets. If you are into therapy and knowing yourself more, you will really enjoy this book. I loved it!
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Inside - perfect title Intricately woven stories that touch each other and see the character's struggles/thoughts (inside) and see where they journey along in life and how they manage their triumphs and challenges. Enjoyed the character's development in each of the storylines.
Date published: 2013-10-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not what I expected The main character in this novel left me wishing the author had loved her more. There were many incidental participants in the story but they weren't strong enough to really impact Grace's life. A psychologist whose patients and partners were well drawn but whose impact on all of them was limp. A decent read, but not the emotional puzzle I anticipated.
Date published: 2013-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A captivating read. Can we ever truly help the people we love? What about strangers? And if we try, what will that help cost us? Alix Ohlin’s beautiful first novel, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller as well as the Rogers Writers’ Trust prizes, captures lives that are damaged and hopeful, as ordinary people struggle to help those around them. At the centre of Inside is Grace, a dedicated psychotherapist, who, on a snowy morning in Montreal stumbles across an attempted suicide on Mount Royale, and finds herself drawn into the life of the man she saves. Inside grows from here to tell the stories of Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband; Annie, her troubled young patient; and Tug, the man in the snow who is haunted by the horrors of the Rwandan genocide. Their stories are braided together and told over the course of a decade in prose that, even at its most grim, is filled with light and humanity. Ohlin is a bright new talent whose confidence and voice has put her in the ranks of Canada’s best veteran writers. There are no easy answers in Inside. Ohlin recognizes that we often make the most defining choices of our lives without knowing why, and then spend years searching for meaning. For Grace, Mitch, Annie, and Tug, finding that meaning is sometimes impossible, but the wonder of Inside comes from the attempt, and the grace that comes with the acceptance of life as it is.
Date published: 2013-10-29

– More About This Product –

Inside

by Alix Ohlin

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 0.69 in

Published: June 16, 2012

Publisher: House Of Anansi Press Inc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1770892060

ISBN - 13: 9781770892064

From the Publisher

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, and selected as an Oprah's Book Club Summer Reading Pick, an Amazon.ca Best Book, and an iTunes Store Best Book

When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward.

At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.

About the Author

Alix Ohlin is the author of two novels, Inside and The Missing Person, and two story collections, Babylon and Other Stories and Signs and Wonders. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on NPR's "Selected Shorts." Born and raised in Montreal, she now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and teaches at Lafayette College.
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