Inside by Alix Ohlin

The novel starts on a tragic note.

Grace, a female therapist, finds a man half buried in the snow. Having bungled his suicide, Tug breathes a heavy sigh as Grace rescues him. Later, Grace develops feelings for this charismatic stranger and pursues him.

In the meantime, her troubled patient, Annie, runs away from home and reinvents herself as an actress in New York. The beautiful and self-involved Annie ends up befriending a young, pregnant runaway who takes willingly and gives little in return.

Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband, leaves the stifling comfort of Montreal for Iqualuit, a place where “he felt the gorgeous pleasure of being away. No matter what happened here, for good or bad, it wasn’t home, and there was a luxurious freedom in that.” Unfortunately, more bad than good did happen as Mitch struggled to help an adolescent dealing with a family tragedy.

As the lives of these three people intersect in unexpected ways over the course of ten years, we learn what it means to be a Good Samaritan and the emotional complications that can result.  As these characters search for approval and validation,  they question their choices and  eventually discover why it’s so important to help each other. Often, it felt like I was reading a series of linked short stories in different times and locations. But in spite of the changing POVs and broken-time sequence, the narrative flowed smoothly.

An excellent read and worthy of the Giller long-list nomination.

2 responses to “Inside by Alix Ohlin

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