Book - 2012
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Grace is a competent and devoted therapist in Montreal who develops feelings for a man who failed to hang himself. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient Annie runs away to New York and soon reinvents herself as an actress. And Grace's therapist ex-husband Mitch leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend a struggling native community in the Arctic.
Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2012.
ISBN: 9781770892064
Characteristics: 257 p. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 30, 2017

I was a little confused at first. It read like a short story collection until I realized (thankfully early on) that each of the four characters telling their story were connected, and that, as in life, people can orbit in and out of your life. I admired Grace, the therapist, who always seemed to know just what to say to her patients. She had almost superhuman empathy for the other person. She also seemed happy, confident and comfortable in herself. The other characters were not so happy. I wondered about the title and thought it might mean who are we inside ourselves, or maybe it meant can we ever get inside another's head, or maybe can we be secure enough to let someone into our head, or maybe it was about the sphere of calm in Grace's life and sessions and the way everyone she knew felt inside that sphere. The writing had a good flow to it with just the right amount of scene-setting and character discussion for me.

May 01, 2017

Excellent book. Without extra pages, all characters, even episodic ones, written almost tactilely.
The action does not always take place in Canada, and not always in winter. But it always felt the breath of the cold Montreal winter, and not at all intimidating, rather, on the contrary.
The title of the book perfectly reflects the content. Allegedly a peaceful ball, but just shake it, and inside - a storm.
It seems to me that this is the nature of the Canadians - author herself used the words “silent Canadians” - seemingly calm and kind, without showing their emotions and inner storms and experiences. But depressed inside feelings and emotions, often result in tragedy.

Aug 09, 2014

I have mixed feelings about the book. It captured my attention--but sort of in a "soap opera" type of way. Writing was fine and was a good camping/summer read. I think it appeals mostly to an under 50 audience.

Jun 13, 2013

An Ok book, modest, writing style is fine, but, not what I would call worthy of being on the Giller short list. Moderately interesting, but, not truly believable. Characters are truly forgettable. Interconnection of the stories is not really smooth.

shokolit May 21, 2013

This is the best book i've read in a very long time.

Apr 15, 2013

Intricately woven stories that touch each other and see the character's struggles/thoughts (inside) and see where they journey along in life and how they manage their triumphs and challenges. Enjoyed the character's development in each of the storylines.

Mar 31, 2013

Not bad but not anywhere near excellent. Interconnected stories which arise when a woman finds an attempted suicidal man on Mount Royal. Had potential but I never cared about anyone in the book.

Feb 16, 2013

I loved this book. It's beautifully written, and perhaps more a series of interlinked short stories than a novel. Lots of suicides! Ohlin writes the insides of her characters with great tenderness and understanding.

Jan 04, 2013

The writing is good but the story is dull and pointless and the characters are neurotic and needy. I did not enjoy this book.

Nov 08, 2012

Finalist, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize 2012. Jury citation: "Intricate, involving, and inspiring are all words that can be used to describe Alix Ohlin’s new novel Inside. Ohlin has managed to show her readers the frailty and strength of her characters: a therapist, a runaway actress, and a grade six teacher turned single mom. Over a ten year period, her group of characters wander in and out of each other's lives looking for whatever they can find, often realizing it’s something they can't name. Deep and emotional, Ohlin’s novel shows us how coincidental and complicated life can be. A truly rewarding journey."

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