Outlawed by Anna North
West of the Mississippi in a disease-ravaged, familiar-but-not American landscape, young Ada’s life takes a dramatic turn. In her insular community (take a pinch of McCarthy and a dash of Atwood, whisk together) a series of events necessitates that Ada flee her home, lest she be blamed for what has transpired. There is, after all, the possibility that Ada is a witch and thus directly responsible for this most recent round of catastrophe.
Needless to say, Ada would not be the first woman cast out of her township, other barren women have been cast out or killed; the town’s male leadership are more inclined to blame witchcraft than utilize reason or pursue knowledge. Clearly, Ada is not cut out for the life that was cut out for her. Inquisitive and determined, Ada departs her home, aided on her journey by the rare benevolent souls she encounters including the notorious ‘Hole in the Wall’ gang of outlaws.
Led by the ideological ‘Kid’, himself an outcast, the gang (inspired by Billy the Kid’s real-life crew) is on an ambitious and potentially catastrophic journey towards a future of their own creation. While Ada is the heroine of this Western adventure, the accompanying outlaws are luminous in their own right, the gunfights ring out loudly and classic Western vibes abound.
Review by Joel
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