Outlander takes place, mostly, in the Scottish Highlands in the 1740's. It is a fabulous work of historical fiction. It made me want to watch Braveheart again, something I thought I would never ever do. So here is the thing: This book contains a lot of "adult content." Like a lot. It's mostly tasteful, and some of it is downright smokin'. But I find myself discrediting this book as less than real literature because of all the sex. Am I really so puritanical? My views on hard work say otherwise.
So the conclusion I have come to is this is a wonderful story with interesting characters set in an interesting time-period and it has lots of graphic sex. Does the latter take away from the former? Only if you let it.
Now that I have convinced you this book is a little, um, racy, let me tell you a little more about the plot. The book centers around British Nurse Claire and Scottish Hunk Jamie. Claire is intelligent and feisty. Jamie is like Scottish Hercules. Let's just say, I will never look at Grounds Keeper Willy the same again. Claire, the Outlander, the stranger not from the Highlands, must navigate the world of Scottish Clan relations and British nastiness. Jamie, a mysterious yet gallant man, soon finds his fate intertwined with Claire's.
If you are a history nerd like me there is another fabulous element of the book. The author, Diana Gabaldon, clearly did a lot of research on everyday life in the Scottish Highlands of the 18th century. There is a huge amount of information on how people lived and the culture of the time.
Because I listened to this, rather than read it, I need to comment on the reader, Davina Porter. She was very good with the Scottish and British Accents, but I found her "man voice" to be a little jarring. She was fabulous with the woman characters, though. I would rate her 4 out five ipods.
One last thing it has going for it: Outlander is the first in a VERY long series. If you like the first book, you have more to look forward to. I personally love series, as long as they don't decline in quality (I'm looking at you, Shrek). I just started listening to the sequel, Dragon Fly in Amber. So in 38 hours I can let you know.
What do you think? Does lots of sex preclude something from being great literature?
by Diana Gabaldon