Daily Review: Outcast by Dianne Noble
July 10, 2019
A well-written novel that reveals what a woman is willing to go through to find her true destiny.
Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.
In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.
But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.
Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.
Excerpt: ‘The heat hit her first, the humidity clinging to her face like a wet flannel. Then the noise. Roaring traffic, blaring horns, shouting, the scream and wail of sirens. She gasped. Coughed as exhaust fumes and coal smoke clawed the back of her throat. Couldn’t breath. Shrank back as wire-thin people with brown faces shoved, jostled, reached out hands to her. Beseeching beggars pulled at her arms, her clothing. Tried to force her way through, the wheeled suitcase bouncing and lurching behind her. Lost her footing. Crashed into the crush of people. Smelt stale sweat and spices as bodies fell on top of her. Felt her lungs compressing beneath their weight. Couldn’t breathe. Darkness swirled around her.’
Excerpt: ‘Dear God, what sort of place have I come to?’
And so this storyline in the beginning chapters unfolds. The main protagonist, Rose, resides in England in her newly-established comfort zone. Her daughter, Ellie, has gone to India to do volunteer work.
Rose is concerned and follows her there only to find she has landed in a hellish environment.
But she soon discovers the children beyond the ugly exterior.
She is tested beyond her limits and is surprised by her own will and strength.
The author, Dianne Noble, has penned a well-written novel of what a person is willing to go through to find their true destiny.
By Roses Are Amber
The Outcast is a modern contemporary read with two settings: Penzance, Cornwall and Kolkata, India. Rose begins as an overprotective, caring but chaotic café owner. The book opens with her frantic for news of her daughter, due home from a gap year in India, on a plane reported as missing.
However this isn’t where the story heads, Ellie, we discover wasn’t on the plane, she has stayed on to work with children of the Dalits (Untouchables) the lowest caste in India and those shunned by society.
Rose needs to see her daughter, to try to bridge the gap between them, to ask for forgiveness. So she hands over the running of her café to Hannah and rushes to India, with no planning, no injections and no thought as to what she may find. Some might call her brave, others silly, her one thought is to find Ellie.
But Ellie’s not particularly pleased to see her mother, she fears she’ll try to run her life for her again. If Rose wants to spend time with Ellie, then she’ll need to help. Ellie plunges Rose into the poverty, stench, crowds and extreme conditions that the Dalits exist by. Working alongside charities and volunteers who give their time, money and love to those ignored by the authorities.
Alongside the story from India, the book gives us chapters from Penzance and the café. Just as the Dalits are the outcasts of society in India, we are shown of outcasts here too. Hannah’s mother Willow is a druggie and homeless, she comes to stay with Hannah, bringing with her trouble. Hannah tries hard to keep the café running to Rose’s standards and keep the customers happy.
Rose is both appalled and consumed by the treatment of different groups in India and how accepting they are of their situation. Another volunteer, Maria sums it up: “Karma. Endure without complaint and your next life will be better”.
The writing style is very atmospheric, you definitely see, hear, smell, taste as Rose does. The pacing is fast due to an unusual use of extremely short sentences. A technique which left me constantly thinking I needed to catch up and the style is quite exhausting at times. Rose had my admiration, not everyone could be so giving to people in these situations nor expose themselves to the conditions she had to work and live in. An inspiring read.
Please click HERE to find Outcast on Amazon.