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4 of 5
1 rating
list price: $15.00 USD
also available: eBook Paperback Paperback
category: Fiction
published: March 2013
imprint: Vintage


by Alix Ohlin

reviews: 1
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literary, family life, psychological
4 of 5
1 rating
list price: $15.00 USD
also available: eBook Paperback Paperback
category: Fiction
published: March 2013
imprint: Vintage

Grace is an exceedingly competent and devoted therapist living in Montreal. When she stumbles across a man who has just failed to hang himself, her instinct to help kicks in immediately. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away to pursue an acting career, and Grace's ex-husband Mitch leaves the woman he’s desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic.
As we follow these four compelling, complex characters, Ohlin gives them each a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing.

About the Author

Alix Ohlin

ALIX OHLIN is the author of four books, including the novels Inside, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and Dual Citizens, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

Alix Ohlin is the author of The Missing Person, a novel; Babylon and Other
Stories; and Signs and Wonders, a new collection. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and on public radio’s Selected Shorts. She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, where she teaches at Lafayette College.

Editorial Review

“A twisty, clever and captivating read. . . . This cunning writer yanks you inside her world.” —San Francisco Chronicle  
“Wondrously engrossing. . . . [These characters] could be your family, your neighbors, people you work with. . . . Resonant and haunting.” —The Boston Globe 
“A subtle, intricate novel. . . . As these lives intersect over a decade, barriers crumble, secrets emerge, and this emotional jigsaw puzzle locks satisfyingly into place.” —More
“Ohlin writes in elegant prose that is flush with wit and style, as clever and smooth as Lorrie Moore.” —The Rumpus
“You can't help but become invested in Inside.  Ohlin displays a profound empathy for people at their least rational—and most human.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Can any of us really save another person?  Or is each of us solely responsible for his or her own life?  That's the question lurking behind [this] astute novel.” —Oprah.com
“A novel that is both easily accessible and demanding in the best of ways. . . . What’s true of all good fiction applies even more emphatically here: Inside, though fully satisfying the first time through, all but demands a second reading. It’s something most readers will be more than happy to do.” —The Montreal Gazette
“A serious literary talent.” —The Washington Times
“Psychologically astute, emotionally resonant. . . . Ohlin allows her readers to know her characters more fully than any of them will ever know each other. . . . A quiet novel populated with beautifully drawn, complex characters that will get inside the heart as well as the head.” —Shelf Awareness
“A writer who should be famous. . . . Ohlin has as unsettling an old soul as Leonard Cohen’s.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Terrific and thought-provoking.”  — The Times (UK)
“In her gripping novel, Alix Ohlin covers vast geographical and emotional territory.  With extraordinary power, she takes us inside the profound and fragile connections of her deeply human characters—each searching for salvation from the past while struggling to find forgiveness and redemption in the present.  This story of surprising turns, grace, and compassion left me feeling that my world and my heart had grown larger.” —Keith Scribner, author of The Oregon Experiment
“The writing is sharp, flecked with details that catch your attention like a lure, just a few pages and you’re hooked.”  —In Flight
Inside takes the reader on an intense, emotional journey. . . . An authentic and empathetic read.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Alix Ohlin does a beautiful job creating these characters, each with their own emotional intensity and tone.”  —Portland Book Review
“Superb [and] captivating. . . . Next to brilliant phrases and scenes of laugh-eliciting satiric jabs, there are brutal, heartbreaking circumstances.” —National Post
“We’re lucky to live in a world with a writer as gifted and as graceful as Alix Ohlin. This book is instantly engrossing, engaging, and moving. I began to think I lived inside of this beautiful and absorbing novel, so real were her characters, so complicated and human their plights.” —Robin Romm, author of The Mercy Papers
“A memorable read. . . . Consistently surprising, often devastating as the protagonists find themselves unable to share what’s on the inside.” —BookPage
“Spanning a twelve-year period, the story moves briskly between New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, Kigali, and the Inuit community of Iqaluit. As the protagonists try, and fail, to establish connections with other human beings, Ohlin charts their small victories and larger disappointments. [The] Hollywood scenes show off the author’s satiric flair.” —The New Yorker
“A woman mistakes a man for a log—and so starts Alix Ohlin’s engrossing novel, Inside. The novel jumps between decades, locations and characters with a precision that makes Ohlin’s hard work seem effortless. The novel is full of surprises and things to admire, but the writing is genuinely clever because it always serves the characters. Inside is a novel about people. It is beautifully crafted and beautifully told.” —The Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury
“Intricate, involving, and inspiring are all words that can be used to describe Alix Ohlin’s new novel Inside. . . . Deep and emotional, Ohlin’s novel shows us how coincidental and complicated life can be. A truly rewarding journey.” —The Rogers’ Writers Trust Prize Jury
“Alix Ohlin is a crazy talented writer, smart and soulful.  Inside is, in a word, stunning.” —Beverly Lowry, author of Crossed Over

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Reader Reviews

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Book review: Inside

I really enjoyed Alix Ohlin's novel, which centres on the lives of four troubled and complex characters. The book is a Giller finalist, but I've been persuading people who typically avoid reading "literature" to read this book. The book is very accessible and is a touching and page-turning read. The application of psychology, and the desires we humans feel to help others, [to save others], is key for the novel. The book looks at very real and terrible issues, such as suicide, teen pregnancy, sexuality, and one's self-worth.

The narratives are very distinct and will draw the reader into the troubled lives of Grace, Mitch and Annie. Inside is a touching and memorable read that stuck with me long after I finished it. The book is well-written and the plot lines of the characters support each other while also stand on their own as their own realistic and slightly tragic story.

There is a darkness to everyone, even if you can't see it. The book puts a lot of weight on that you can't always see what's going on inside a person. You can't know their darkest secrets and what's weighing them down. You can't always help someone, no matter how hard you try. The world is a bitter and difficult place and not everyone copes well with the problems life deals us.

The characters were easy to imagine in my mind. I felt like I knew them and sometimes, that I was suffering along with them. As someone who has seen and dealt with friends and family who have suffered silently and alone with depression, anxiety, and the like, this novel really hit home with me.

This book was fantastic and a worthy contestant for the Giller! Ohlin is a talented writer, capable of weaving an intense and emotional story that will stay with you. I expect she will continue to provide wonderful pieces of Canadian literature.

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