Review of ‘An outsider inside’ by R. J. Samuel.

In the run-up to Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage, Irish-Indian lesbian activist Jaya Dillon has to confront her unresolved issues on bisexualty and her mixed-race origin. When she discovers a manuscript while tidying a rental house, she finds herself emotionally invested in search for its disappeared author.

This is not a typical romance and definitely not an easy read as it touches difficult identity issues such as race, gender and sexuality. On top of that, the author deals with politics, feminism and arranged marriages as well. Some of the real events described in this book are close to my heart as I live in Ireland and witnessed the process of the referendum vote on same sex marriage which was a great advancement for the LGBT community. The myriad of characters – mains or secondary, heroes or villains – are well rounded and realistic and for once I’ve found a set of credible Irish characters in lesfic. There is a book inside this book and Ms. Samuel works well to set each different writing styles. Regarding the mystery disappearance that Jaya tries to solve, the author keeps the reader guessing how events are going to develop including an unexpected twist at the end. It is a testing read, not always pleasant but surely worth it.

Overall, a very well written book. Highly recommended if you are in the mood for a challenging read. 4.5 stars.

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