Post written by guest blogger Monica Jones
Epic passion and time traveling adventure VS the astounding crescendo of self-realization with both books plunging into achingly beautiful love…that’s what I was forced to compare when I read Outlander and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe…and I’m so glad I did!
While I initially believed that these two books couldn’t be more different, I found a shocking amount of similarities that results when two human beings try to understand their place in the world and how to open their hearts to love. Both books are historical fiction…albeit El Paso in the 1980s is slightly less of a historic stretch than the Scottish Uprising of the 1700s, however, both Sanez and Gabaldon paint their settings with painstaking care and detail resulting in a rich sense of place that is almost a character in and of itself.
Both Claire and Ari hold onto their feelings, keeping their secrets inside and mulling over their choices with a fixed deliberation. Both Jamie and Dante are open and joyous with their feelings, not afraid to express themselves (most of the time) and their openness and honesty allows their chosen partners to begin the process of opening up, themselves. Both books have protagonists who look the peril and difficulty that their lover poses in the eye and choose them anyway – but with the full knowledge that they can’t ever go back and that while the heart wants what the heart wants, this choice will not bring ease or convenience.
Now, while these two books have some very interesting parallels, the tones of these two books are worlds apart. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a character driven novel that slowly builds as Ari begins to discover who he is, who he wants to be, and where he fits into his family and the world around him - Outlander is an epic historical fiction, time traveling romantic (and at times, flat out erotic) adventure that exudes passion even in its most quiet moments.
I thoroughly enjoyed both of these books and I can honestly say that I will be re-reading them again. I truly connected with the characters of both titles and each book transported me so completely that even the small moments were monumental in their sincerity and beauty; Ari and Dante staring into the desert night sky in the bed of Ari’s truck, Claire and Jamie laying in the grass, taking time for each other during a brief moment rare tranquility – both pairs drawn towards each other, teetering between friendship and love…oh my goodness these two stories made my heart ache! But in the end when I finished Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe I was content, when I finished Outlander, I hungered.