Outlawed - book cover
Literature & Fiction
  • Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Published : 15 Feb 2022
  • Pages : 272
  • ISBN-10 : 1635578248
  • ISBN-13 : 9781635578249
  • Language : English



The "terrifying, wise, tender, and thrilling" (R.O. Kwon) adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West.

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.

Editorial Reviews

"Outlawed stirs up the western with a provocative blend of alt-history and feminist consciousness. The result is a thrilling tale eerily familiar but utterly transformed . . . In North's galloping prose, it's a fantastically cinematic adventure that turns the sexual politics of the Old West inside out." ―Ron Charles, Washington Post, "Best of the Year"

"Anna North presents a far different perspective on the [Western] genre, one forged by women, Black and nonbinary people looking for the freedom, space and right to exist in a world that largely doesn't want them . . . The vividness with which she writes this world is one that's captivating and hard to put down." ―USA Today, "Best New Books"

"Fans of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale are in for a stellar ride where gender roles, sexuality, agency, and self-discovery come together, making North's story as experimental and novel as it is classic." ―Boston Globe

"The heroes of the traditional Western were always sure about what made them the way they were; what made a man a man. For Ada and the other 'outlaws' of this spirited novel, the frontiers of gender and sexuality beckon to be explored." ―Maureen Corrigan, NPR, "Books We Love"

"Virtuosic." ―The New Yorker

"From the author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning The Life and Death of Sophie Stark comes an alt-history feminist western . . . Think Foxfire by way of Maddie from True Grit, yet North's swashbuckling saga is wholly her own." ―O, the Oprah Magazine, "Best LGBTQ Books of 2021"

"A thoroughly gripping, genre-subverting and -defining marvel of a novel." ―Refinery29, "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"

"2021 is already a year that could use a little joy. Here to provide some is the scrappy new feminist Western novel Outlawed . . . It's an absolute romp and contains basically everything I want in a book: witchy nuns, heists, a marriage of convenience, and a midwife trying to build a bomb out of horse dung." ―Vox

"This book has me, and you should have this book." ―Glamour, "Best of the Month"

"A western unlike any other, Outlawed features queer cowgirls, gender nonconforming robbers and a band of feminists that fight against the grain for autonomy, agency and the power to define their own worth." ―Ms.

"There is something both thrilling and intimidating about the first book of the year to receive rave reviews, and we didn't have to wait long for it in 2021. Published during the first week of the New Year, Anna North's Outlawed sets a high bar for the 12 months of publishing still to come . . . It upends the tropes of the traditionally macho and heteronormative genre while also being a rip-sn...

Readers Top Reviews

I heard about this book through a book club review and thought I'd give it a go - it was an incredible story, filled with so much detail and description. The story centres around a barren young girl and her journey from exhiled wife to outlaw in the wild West back in the 1800s. The way this story was written, long chapters, and full of description painted a perfect picture. I would have given this 5 stars, until I reached the end, almost abruptly - how the story ended was quick and disappointing.
Unfortunately, I think I wanted something different from this book. I enjoy westerns and was looking forward to a feminist take on them, but I found it fell a little flat and didn't get a good handle on any of the characters. I certainly appreciate the fresh take on the genre and the hardback itself is a beautiful package. I will read more from the author .
A really good read. I loved all the characters. It is set in the late 1800s and is a wonderful story about strength and resilience and overcoming obstacles in a mans world. Its heartbreaking as well as these wonderful women are cast out as witches because the couldnt conceive children and are blamed for everything that goes wrong in their towns because of it. A lovely book.
I bought this book on the recommendation of Reese's Book Club. The author conveys a genuine feel for her western environment, if not an actual understanding of the distances between the real-world locals mentioned. However, given the dystopian theme, I would have wanted and expected more world building. I felt the characterization was lacking and it was hard to distinguish the gang members from each other, we could have done with two or three less. I just didn't buy into the non-binary world the author created as much as the possibilities of an old West dystopia.
Faithful urban reade
I bought this book based on the reviews and premise. The author handles action scenes well and had a genuine feel for her western environment and the genre. However, given that the book commences based on a series of events in this western dystopia, I would have wanted and expected more world building and emphasis on the new post-flu world. I felt the characterization was lacking and it was hard to distinguish the gang members from each other. The resurgence of miscegenation theories was handled superficially. I would actually, despite this review, be interested in a sequel, provided the worldbuilding and characters were more fleshed out. I just didn't "cotton" to the non-binary world the author created as much as the possibilities in an old West dystopia.

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