Book Reviews

Outlandish: A Crossover into the Lives of Scottish Warriors

By Erica Dobecki

“People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman. Better yet, ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread-and butter to journalists… Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have explanations. Usually.”

In 1991, Diana Gabaldon began a beautifully penned series called Outlander. The series came to prominence this summer when it became a television series of the same name on Starz. The series is historical fiction and is based on the life of main character Claire Fraser and her way of dealing with the time crossover when she goes back in time from 1945 to 1743.Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser in Outlander

“Now I was alone, next to a sleeping stranger with whom my life was inextricably linked, adrift in a place filled with unseen threat.”
Claire Randall. In one moment, her life was turned upside down and it all happened during what was supposed to be a happy honeymoon with her husband, Frank. One minute Claire was in the post wartime 1940s and the next minute, she had tumbled through time and landed in full on war action 1700s Scotland.

The young woman has many transformations from her original state of mind when she was in the 1940s and married to Frank Randall. A lot of Claire’s actions are to save herself, such as marrying Jamie Fraser and becoming Castle Leoch’s designated doctor.

The transformation of Claire to wife of Jamie is quick but it is not too quick for the audience. Claire and Jamie seem to have been meant to be together, simply by their exchanges. “’There’s such a thing as justice, Claire. You’ve done wrong to them all, and you’ll have to suffer for it.’ He took a deep breath. ‘I’m your husband; it’s my duty to attend to it, and I mean to do it.’”

Claire has a difficult time juggling all of her roles as wife, doctor, Sassenach (outlander), and 1940’s woman.

Diana GabaldonThe novel often sees Claire trying to juggle her many roles, without getting too overwhelmed.

Historically, Gabaldon touches upon everything that Scotland is famous for during that time period. The biggest thing at that time was the bad blood between the Scots and the English, which are the biggest skirmishes Gabaldon talks about in the book. Gabaldon also touches upon the magical mythologies Scots told and the Gaelic language. The amount of research that was done for this novel alone must have been mind boggling.

Diana Gabaldon has three degrees in sciences, including Zoology, Marine Biology, and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Behavioral Ecology. She was a university professor for over twelve years before beginning her current career and writing fiction novels. She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and three adult children.

Diana Gabaldon’s personal website has information about her tours, various interviews, and her novels, including the Outlander series and many more. The website dedicated to the show is all about the series, including teasers for new episodes and information on the actors. Outlander can also be purchased here, along with the many other novels in the series.

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