"A harrowing, humane, and very beautiful book.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
A searing dystopian vision of a young boy's flight through an unnamed, savaged country, searching for sanctuary and redemption—a debut novel from one of Europe's bestselling literary stars.
A young boy has fled his home. He’s pursued by dangerous forces. What lies before him is an infinite, arid plain, one he must cross in order to escape those from whom he’s fleeing. One night on the road, he meets an old goatherd, a man who lives simply but righteously, and from that moment on, their paths intertwine.
Out in the Open tells the story of this journey through a drought-stricken country ruled by violence. A world where names and dates don’t matter, where morals have drained away with the water. In this landscape the boy—not yet a lost cause—has the chance to choose hope and bravery, or to live forever mired in the cycle of violence in which he was raised. Carrasco has masterfully created a high stakes world, a dystopian tale of life and death, right and wrong, terror and salvation.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Penguin Group|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Margaret Jull Costa has been translating Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American fiction for more than twenty years, including authors like Javier Marías.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Out in the Open by Jesus Carrasco is a highly recommended stark story of violence, escape, and survival. It was translated from the original Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. In this bleak novel of drought-stricken landscapes and violence, a young boy escapes, runs away, from what he feels will be death. He is pursued by a man called the bailiff and his henchmen. In order to escape he must cross an arid plan where a source of water and food is uncertain, while keeping hidden from the men who are looking for him. When the young boy meets an elderly goatherd, he is offered food and water, and eventually he understands protection as the old man tries to keep the boy safe and help him escape, traveling at night, even as the violent, evil men who are pursuing him draw closer. In this austere narrative names and dates don't matter and one day/night blends into another. The details explaining what caused the boy to flee his family are never explained. The old man and the boy are either on the move, trying to avoid the bailiff, or tending to the most basic of needs - water, food, bodily elimination, and sleeping - for them and the donkey, dog, and goats they are traveling with. The landscape is harsh, reflecting a dystopian world, but no explanation for that state of their drought-blighted land is given. The dialogue is meager, subdued. The threat of violence is always present, lurking nearby. In the end this novel has an almost parable-like feel to it, if you ignore the violence, based on the boy's potential to escape and not perpetuate the threatening behavior he has been exposed to his whole life. The old man exhibits the traits of an adherent to Christian principles (goatherd/shepherd), and Carrasco has some Christian imagery included in the novel. The boy is almost like a disciple of the old man, who is protecting and instructing him, in his minimalist way, on survival and, ultimately, on becoming a man. The writing is descriptive and elegant, even as the story is violent and bleak. The climax of Out in the Open is grim and devastating, but also gives a slight measure of hope and redemption. This novel may not be a ideal choice for a general audience, but if you liked The Road and lean toward literary fiction, Out in the Open might be a fully satisfying selection. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.