wd: Since PBR came into being, the most debated books have been Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation. Apples and oranges for certain and a testament to our divergent tastes. Unlike the Crusie title – for which Kassia and I were eager, but for too long lacked the time to discuss – the talk about Outlander wasn’t of the sort that implies fervor. The deliberations went a bit like this:
Me: Let’s do Outlander.
Anonymous fellow reviewer: I’d rather be staked out on ant hill and covered in honey.
Repeat ad infinitum with the occasional substitution of torture method and you get the idea. While it’s been frustrating to want to talk about a book and to not find that desire reciprocated, the polarization that Outlander has caused here is endemic of the schism it has created in the larger romance community. There are those who passionately love Jamie and Claire’s story, and those who hate the very idea of the books. I have to admit that I am addicted to the Outlander series…while I’m reading it. When I’m not reading, I ardently wish I’d never picked the books up. The never-ending-series that it has become weighs me down and dampens my excitement for the story.
(lf: Let me horn in here to say that as a fervent fan of Ms. Gabaldon’s, I too look askance at each new entry in the series. I’ve had Breath of Snow and Ashes on my shelf since it was published last year, working up the gumption to take a running leap at it. The Outlander books demand a huge investment in time and emotional energy and are not for the weak.)
Nonetheless, when Lorna joined us I knew the discussion that I was so impatient for would soon be underway. Years ago, the first conversation Lorna and I had – beyond, hello nice to meet you – was about the Outlander series. We were united in our general passion for all things Gabaldon while being divided by our thoughts on specific points. That seemed a lovely place to begin a discussion, and it was with great enthusiasm that Lorna and I launched into Outlander. We quickly found that our conversation about Jamie and Claire and all that happens to them, to be completely overwhelming. It’s nearly impossible to discuss Outlander while leaving all those other books and continuing storylines untouched; but we managed to, mostly. What follows is our very long chat about Outlander.