The boy thought his heart would stop from the thunder sound the Gates made as they closed behind him.
–Molly Gloss - Outside the gates - c.1986, 2019
I’ve loved every Molly Gloss book I’ve read since I first encountered her work in The hearts of horses back in 2014. She just has this wonderful way of writing a story. She gets to the heart of her books in a wonderfully descriptive way. Her style of storytelling is perfect for me as a reader. So when she tweeted that her debut novel Outside the gates was being republished I had to order it.
It is the story of a young boy named Vren, who has a shadow, and so has been cast out of his home, to face all the other monsters and their shadows.
This is a short book, more of a novella, which was marketed as a children’s/young adult book when first published. It is probably aimed more at genre fans with this reissue, but I could see anyone who enjoyed Le Guin’s work or Alan Garner’s work liking this too.
It is told in what seems like a simple way, descriptive and low-key, but at the same time so effective and beautiful. I loved this book.
Vren’s loneliness at being forced out, his fear of the forest and those who live there, his finding a new home, and then facing the possibility that they may be taken from him as well. It’s just a great book.
I think it is one I could reread as often as I had the time and find something different to love on each read.