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Book review: The Outside Lands by Hannah Kohler


The Outside Lands is a novel with the Vietnam war at its heart, which explores how the conflict impacts on a family. It follows the stories of Jeannie and her brother Kip. Jeannie marries young and finds herself in a world of wealth and politics. Kip turns to petty crime before volunteering to join the Marines. By 1968 the Vietnam conflict is in full swing. Kip is on a tour of duty in Vietnam; that will end in death, disfigurement and a court martial – while Jeannie becomes involved in the anti-war movement.

This novel is not an easy one to read, the horror of this war evident in many chapters. It brings vividly to life the human cost of this war – physically and emotionally, and it captures what it was like to live in America during the 1960s. This is debut novel, and it showcases an author to watch in the future.

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