OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD
A 2010 Indie Next Notable and MLA Must Read selection
“Reminiscent of Mona Simpson and Elizabeth Strout in the way Ostermiller expertly explores family dynamics and mother-daughter bonds, Outside the Ordinary World gives a shattering portrait of ordinary people breaking asunder and helplessly trying to glue back together… There is absolutely nothing ordinary about this astonishingly moving and complex novel…”
–Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe
Sylvia Sandon always swore she wouldn’t become her mother. But one August morning, she finds herself walking the same path as the fervently religious yet faithless Elaine, into an affair she feels unable to resist.
Against the backdrop of California brush fires in the ’70s, twelve year-old Sylvia agreed to hold a secret that would devour her family’s dream of happiness. Now struggling to create a better life in small-town New England, 3,000 miles from home, Sylvia nonetheless feels caught in the coils of history as she confronts a dying marriage and her faltering artistic career. Then Tai Rosen—the father of a student— ignites an unexpected passion and a familiar betrayal that could illuminate the past, even as it jeopardizes everything dear.
Outside the Ordinary World reveals what lies beneath the surface of infidelity. But at its heart, it is the story of the powerful, sometimes disturbing bond between mothers and daughters, and the fine line between self-revelation and self-destruction.