If you have been following this blog for the last two years you will have noticed that I am a huge fan of the “Outlander” novel series, written by Diana Gabaldon. You only have to check the tags on the right side column to find the various posts I wrote about it :)
“Outlander” was first published 20 years ago and there will be a super special 20th Anniversary Edition. Karen from the wonderful blog “Outlandish Observations” decided to have a contest in celebration of this occasion. The prize is a copy of the 20th Anniverary edition, signed by Diana Gabaldon herself. The contest rules require a short description of what “Outlander” means to you. Of course I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to once more share with the world, why “Outlander” is my favourite novel series. The following is my contest entry, keep your fingers crossed for me :-)
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„Outlander“ had spent years on my stack of unread books, but when I went on a vacation to London and Scotland in the summer of 2009 I thought it would be the perfect book to bring along. I only had a vague idea about the story, but it was historical stuff set in Scotland, so I figured it to be a good pick. And I was completely hooked after the first few chapters. I hadn’t even left mainland Europe (I took the train from Germany via Brussels to London) and knew I had to buy the 2nd book in Great Britain. I did buy „Dragonfly in Amber“ already in London, just to make sure to be able to continue reading right away when I had finished with „Outlander”. 10 days later I bought „Voyager” in Edinburgh, because I expected to finish the 2nd book on the long train ride home to Germany. I spent most of my free time on this vacation (in my hotel room, in cafés, parks or anywhere in the beautiful Scottish outdoors) over the next two weeks with Claire and Jamie.
I loved the story, because it was romance, history, adventure, drama, fantasy and all tied up so wonderfully in this one epic story. I loved the writing, because it was rich and powerful and brought all those people and worlds alive. I loved the characters, because they were real and complex. They were flawed, like we all are and they sometimes drove me mad. But I loved them right from the start and it hasn’t changed since. It would take much more than 500 words to explain why I consider Claire & Jamie the most epic love story of all times, so I’ll not even try to squeeze this into this short essay.
I think part of the fascination for me was that I was actually there in Scotland while I was reading this story for the first time. I did a 5-day-tour of the Highlands and our guide told us we were passing through the land of Clan Fraser and I was „OMG I know them!“ Of course I didn’t utter that aloud :-) But to actually be there in the highlands, to see glens, lochs and castle ruins definitely made Diana’s wonderful words so much more real to me, because I had the visual right there with me all the time.
I also very well remember one afternoon in Edinburgh towards the end of my trip. I was sitting outside the Scottish Parliament, close to Hollyrood Palace, reading about Claire and Jamie visiting the Bonnie Prince or roaming Cannongate and the Royal Mile. And all of a sudden I had this weird „You are right here where it all had happened” feeling. Which is totally crazy, I know, because *it* did not happen at all, Diana just made it all up. But she did it so marvellously that it feels so real and … so epic.