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Wed Nov 20, 2013



Thursday December 12th, 2013

"The adolescent heart is fueled by a high-octane mixture of love and ruthlessness as Barry Dempster deftly shows us in The Outside World. This novel by one of Canada's esteemed poets is a poignant reminder that home may be the most dangerous place of all." - Joan Thomas

Set in 1966 in a Toronto suburb, The Outside World follows Robinson Tedley, a teenager, whose mother Florence, an agoraphobic, spends most of her time peering at the neighbours from her living room window, whose mentally challenged sister Lissy wants nothing more than to be outside in sunshine and whose father Ed is perpetually oblivious to the tensions within his home. How can Robbie take care of his mother and his roaming sister when he’s got so much to contend with in the outside world? Girls, love, sex, school. Bullies and friendships and growing pains, the force of his own fears and anger. Pressing against Robbie's own difficulties are the troubles of a conservative 1950s mainstream, poised to resist the emergence of a sexual revolution, women’s liberation, the civil rights movement and war protests. A dark and engaging coming-of-age story that may remind readers of Miriam Toews's A Complicated Kindness and Russell Banks's Rule of the Bone.

To order books: 

Beth Follett Publisher

113 Bond Street St. John’s NL A1C 1T6   [email protected]

or at your local independent bookstore or online.

About Barry's fiction:


The Outside World is Barry Dempster’s first book of fiction in 20 years.  Dempster's prose was first noticed by renowned editor and writer, John Metcalf, for his anthology Third Impressions (Oberon Press, 1982) in which Metcalf showcased three promising young authors. The reviews of Third Impressions often singled out Dempster’s stories as the best of the collection. Burt Howard Ottawa citizen book editor wrote that Dempster was “the most satisfying, perhaps most Canadian in the Margaret Laurence tradition of Tolstoyian mainstream humanism”. A contract from Oberon Press quickly followed for the publication of a collection of highly praised short stories Real Places and Imaginary Men in 1984.  Toronto Star reviewer Geoff Hancock wrote “Dempster’s literary curiosity in Real Places and Imaginary Men takes him in several directions, from the traditional to the fantastic, and from the fable to the experimental piece broken into fragments.  What links these diverse styles is a warm narrative voice and a sophisticated cadence in his prose.” In 1989, Oberon published a second collection Writing Home. William French at The Globe and Mail wrote “Dempster’s skill as a poet is evident here in his vivid imagery and economy of expression.  He gives his characters a psychological complexity and depth that makes them more than mere symbols.   Writing Home is imaginative and entertaining.”Quarry Press came forward with an offer to publish his first novel, The Ascension of Jesse Rapture, which also received good reviews. 

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