Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Outside World

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The Outside World by Barry Dempster

Pedlar Press, 2013

From Pedlar Press:

Set in 1966 in a Toronto suburb, The Outside World follows Robinson Tedley, a teenager, whose mother Florence, an agoraphobic, spends most of her time peering at the neighbours from her living room window, whose mentally challenged sister Lissy wants nothing more than to be outside in sunshine and whose father Ed is perpetually oblivious to the tensions within his home. How can Robbie take care of his mother and his roaming sister when he’s got so much to contend with in the outside world? Girls, love, sex, school. Bullies and friendships and growing pains, the force of his own fears and anger. Pressing against Robbie's own difficulties are the troubles of a conservative 1950s mainstream, poised to resist the emergence of a sexual revolution, women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and war protests. A dark and engaging coming-of-age story that may remind readers of Miriam Toews's A Complicated Kindness and Russell Banks's Rule of the Bone.