INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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'Calling it The Handmaid's Tale crossed with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid goes some way to describe this novel's memorable world, but it is also wholly its own' KIRKUS
'2021 is already a year that could use a little joy. Here to provide some is 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
'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-snortin' good read, too' THE WEEK (Most Anticipated Books of the Year)
'North is a riveting storyteller . . . Reader, you are in for a real treat' JENNY ZHANG
'Fans of Margaret Atwood and Cormac McCarthy finally get the Western they deserve' ALEXIS COE
'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' WASHINGTON POST
'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.
'A grand, unforgettable tale' ESMÉ WEIJUN WANG
In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.
On the day of her wedding-dance, Ada feels lucky. She loves her broad-shouldered, bashful husband and her job as an apprentice midwife.
But her luck will not last. It is every woman's duty to have a child, to replace those that were lost in the Great Flu. And after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are hanged as witches, Ada's survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.
She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang. Its leader, a charismatic preacher-turned-robber, known to all as The Kid, wants to create a safe haven for women outcast from society. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.
North's knockout latest (after The Life and Death of Sophie Stark) chronicles the travails of a midwife's daughter who joins a group of female and nonbinary outlaws near the end of the 19th century. Eighteen-year-old newlywed Ada, unable to conceive a child, fears she will be accused of witchcraft, a fate common to the women in her Dakota territory community. After Ada's former friend has a miscarriage and accuses Ada of casting a spell on her, Ada's mother helps her flee to a nunnery, where a Sister suggests she join a nearby gang known as Hole in the Wall. Ada becomes a "doctor" to the motley group led by the Kid (to whom no gender pronouns are attributed " Not he, not she,' Elzy said. The Kid is just The Kid'"). The outlaws plan to create a town where nonconforming people can belong. The tense plot takes many turns through Ada's increasingly violent adventures with the gang, beginning with a botched holdup of a wagon laden with gold. As the novel barrels toward a surprise ending, it's further strengthened by Ada's voice and reflections, which preserve a sense of immediacy: "distances that had once seemed vast were now so small that my enemies could cross them in an instant." The characters' struggles for gender nonconformity and LGBTQ rights are tenderly and beautifully conveyed. This feminist western parable is impossible to put down.