Outlander

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By Darachel Te

 

I remember the first time I saw Outlander (the novel): my local bookstore had set up a pyramid of the Outlander series up against a wall as part of their promotional merchandising tactic. I, naturally, thought to myself ‘Jenga?’ and carefully withdrew a book nowhere near the top, it was a ‘will not attempt again (in public)’ moment that had me doing my best to appear normal while trying to re-establish the structural integrity of the bookramid.

I ended up buying the first novel to mollify my guilty conscience, and I’m glad I did. I practically devoured the story in one day and promptly went out to purchase all the other subsequent titles that were available. Thus began my healthy infatuation with the writings of Diana Gabaldon and the magic that is her imagination.

Outlander is beautifully written. It is a fusion of genres; rich in medicinal, political and historical detail.

It is 1945, Claire Randall, a nurse who served on the frontline of World War II, is on her second honeymoon with her husband Frank in Scotland. During a solo excursion to the standing stones, Claire finds herself cast back in time to 1743 to an era where political and clan allegiances are dominant and any suspicious or superstitious behaviour is swiftly dealt with by grim judgement or dire consequences.

At the foundation of the tale is Claire and her determination to get back to her husband, versus her feelings for one Jamie Fraser whom she meets in the 18th century. The conflict in her emotions makes for an evocative and riveting read.

After two decades, Outlander has finally been adapted to a visual medium. With the recent trend of book to movie adaptations I was hesitant at first to see Outlander, as I’ve watched quite a lot of my favourite stories made into a cut and paste mess on screen that had no emotional depth or connection.

My fears, however, have been allayed. I watched. I loved. I want more.

The TV series is produced by Robert D Moore (best known for his work on Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica) and is available to view on Soho on Foxtel. The second half of the first series is set to premiere next year and it has been renewed for a second season.

In conclusion, I have to say DO NOT play Jenga with shop displays but do buy, read and watch Outlander.

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