Monday, June 18, 2012

Read Along of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Part 1

This week we read Chapters 1 to 7. The Questions were provided by Gone With The Words.
If you visit Stalking The Bookshelves you will find the questions for next week and a list of links to this week’s answers.

1. Outlander is a well-known book. Before you cracked it open, what were your expectations or assumptions about this story? Or did you jump into it with a blank slate?

Although I had heard of the book I did not have much idea about it, so I guess I fall into the ‘blank slate’ category.

2. Claire’s husband, Frank, is fascinated with learning more and more facts about his family tree, which extends back pretty far. Do you or anyone in your family keep a family tree? How many years/generations back does it go? If not, have you ever considered or attempted to create one?

I am English and genealogy is much more of an American fascination in my experience, although it is starting to be more popular in the UK these days. I believe one of my uncles has done some research into his side of the family, but I do not think that it has gone back very far. My grandparents came from a wide area and their families are dispersed across England and Wales, which means that any research would take a lot of travelling about, so I have not attempted it. Also, due to family disagreements, many of my great uncles and aunts, and their offspring, are unknown to me and I am not sure that there is still a way to find them.

3. How did you find Claire’s initial conclusion as to her surroundings after waking up from going through the stones? Did you think that was a reasonable conclusion?

Assuming that it was a film set seemed reasonable to me, although I am not sure that many films were made on location in 1945: I have a feeling that they were all shot in studios because it was so much cheaper. But I can understand how Claire would jump to the only ‘possible’ explanation for what she was seeing.

4. How about her composed, rational way of dealing with the fact she’s traveled back in time. Did you find it believable? Do you think you would have acted the same way?

Considering that she has just lived through World War 2 and experienced air raids and combat situations, I think that she has developed a very focused, controlled way to deal with unpleasant situations. This mental toughness makes her very resilient and pragmatic, so she does not succumb to hysteria and panic. I found this quite believable and consistent with the way she had been portrayed before her time shift. I have no idea how I would react, but hopefully I would manage a little dignity.

5. At this point in the story, what are your feelings or expectations on Claire and Jamie? Is Frank still a factor for you?

I am not sure what to think about Claire and Jamie at the moment. In some ways it seems a little too obvious for them to develop a relationship, but there does seem to be an underlying sense of acceptance between them. I think the fact that Claire had suddenly realized that Frank might have been unfaithful during the war could make it easier to ‘forget’ him. However, Mrs Graham’s palm reading suggests that he has been faithful. It seems like Claire is not thinking about Frank very much at the moment, which is probably a coping mechanism as she tries to keep a lid on her emotions. Also, she has spent long stretches of time apart from him, so this is not such an unusual separation for her.

Bonus Question: Frank encounters a man outside of the inn where he and Claire are staying. He is afraid it might have been a ghost. What do you believe it was? Do you have any predictions or suspicions on what that was about?

It seems like the stones might be a conduit in both directions and this is Jamie or some other clansman who has travelled into the future.


  1. I'm pretty sure your answers for Questions 4 through Bonus are what I meant to say, except you've phrased them a lot better than me. :)

  2. The palm reading. I think since she was told about her divided marriage line maybe it will be a little easier to go for it when the scaffolding is complete.

  3. Why, thank you! :D

  4. Yes, Claire is very focused...I want to try and be more like her :) 

    I had similar thoughts on the "ghost" :) 

    Thanks for joining us for the read-a-long!

  5. Your answer for #5 is really good. I agree with pretty much the entire thing. 
    I didn't mind reading about Frank and Claire in the beginning, although I noticed that Claire seemed much more into the marriage than Frank did - it was a little bit obvious to me. However, I really connected with Jamie right away. I'm not sure if it was because Claire was nursing him and I'm a nurse, or it if was because of how he was written. In any case, I already like him more than Frank. Despite the fact that Claire and Frank are married, I am ready for Jamie and Claire to develop a relationship, and I am interested in seeing how Frank will fit into it! 

  6. I wish I could cope with disasters like she does: I fell down and twisted my ankle the other day and cried like a baby for ages! :D

  7. I didn't read Frank as less committed, but I am married to an academic so I know how detached from reality they can be! :D

  8. You know I've read this series like 4 times and I've never really thought of Frank and Claire's separation like that, but you put it beautifully! I always argue with my boyfriend about Claire and her leaving Frank, and that's a good point - they spent so much time apart, that it's logical that she wouldn't focus on him too much (and instead focus on escaping), and that it might be easier for her to fall out of love with Frank because they were apart for so long.

    I do remember that if nothing else, Frank was a bit of a bore. In fact I had started this book and quit it after the first 40 pages or so, only to pick it back up years later and end up loving it!

  9. I am not sure that it makes it easier for her to fall out of love, but more that she is already psychologically prepared to be without him if that makes sense! :)

  10. Ah it's Friday and I'm finally here!  Sorry bout the slowpoke-ness, I'll hopefully be more on top of things next time around. :P

    I find it interesting that you point out that genealogy is much more of an American fascination, and I can't help but think it makes sense.  We all 'came from' somewhere, and for some reason, even if our family's been in this country for several hundreds of years we still like to hold onto those ties.

    I also agree that Claire's calm and collected way of dealing with things makes sense given her recent past, even her reaction to being so separated from Frank.  I like that the relationship with Jamie, while obviously 'the' relationship of the book, is developing slowly at this point, and not the main focus of the story.

  11. Don't worry, my computer just died, so I am going to have problems keeping up with stuff this week. :(

    WRT Janie: I agree, I would have been very disappointed if she had jumped on him in their first encounter.


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