(CCLaP is dedicated to reviewing as many contemporary books as possible, including self-published volumes; click here to learn how to submit your own book for possible review, although be warned that it needs to have been published within the last 18 months to be considered. For the complete list of all books reviewed here, as well as the next books scheduled to be read, click here.)
The Outside World
By Barry Dempster
Reviewed by Jason Pettus
Although I'm usually a big fan of the experimental Pedlar Press (and with reviews of several more books from them coming here soon), I must confess that Barry Dempster's The Outside World is a rare misstep for them, a book I never even ended up finishing because at a certain point I just found it such a chore to continue. Part of a growing trend of genteel coming-of-age stories so inconsequential as to almost not even exist, certainly Dempster hits all the right notes when it comes to this genre, and his actual writing style is just fine as well; but like most of these kinds of stories, there's simply nothing here that's particularly engaging, unique or compelling, with a flatlined plot that is all style and no substance. Although I appreciate a good turn of phrase as much as anyone else, and I'm also much more forgiving of rambling storylines when they're being presented as such, The Outside World is presented as a traditional three-act novel, and as such it's unfortunately lacking.
Out of 10: 7.0