Where is the setting for Diana Gabaldon's Outlander?

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Brian G Turner

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#1
I've just started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and have a question about the setting.

Chapter 1 opens with the title "1946, Inverness". But when Claire is in Mrs Baird's living room she looks out on "stereoscopic views of Perth".

Oh - so she's in Perth? Which is confusing because Claire constantly states that she's in the Highlands, and Perth is in the lowlands of Scotland - you can see the Highlands rising up north of that city. And I'm not aware of a "Perth" in or near Inverness itself.

Claire does mention a standing stone at the end of the road outside, and names it as Clach Mhor. However, the only reference to a Clach Mhor I can find is on North Uist in the Hebrides!

Which all leaves me very confused as to where Chapter 1 takes place! Was the mention of Perth a typo, have they not reached Inverness yet ... or is the geography hopelessly mixed up?
 
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Amelia Faulkner

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#2
Did she maybe drive to Perth to get to Mrs. Baird's? :D

I confess the only Perth I know is considerably further south than Inverness. Like, a hundred miles south...
 

Brian G Turner

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#3
Oh - toward the end of the chapter she goes to Loch Ness, so she's obviously supposed to be in Inverness. So I figure the reference to "Perth" was an error.

There's a nice sense of voice about the main character, but what's slightly disappointing is that there's no sense of place - I don't get a feeling of the writer having been here, as any details are vague and generic.

Still, I'm going to push on as I'm interested in finding out more about this story. :)
 

The Ace

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#4
Did she maybe drive to Perth to get to Mrs. Baird's? :D

I confess the only Perth I know is considerably further south than Inverness. Like, a hundred miles south...

110 miles from the Inveralmond roundabout via the A9.

I've never yet been impressed by an outsider writing a Scottish novel, describing Scotland, or attempting a Scottish accent, and I don't think I'm going to start now.
 

The Ace

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#6
OCH AYE THE NOO JIMMY WHERE'S ME TROOSERS SPORRAN HAGGIS QUAICH IRN BRU is how most Scottish-by-non-Scots comes across to me and I'm not even Scottish.
Pretty much. It's only Glaswegians who call each other, "Jimmy," "Och aye !" (Oh yes !) isn't as common as it used to be and, "The noo," (just now) is pretty rare to - no Scot who ever lived has said both together. Irn Bru is the reason that Scotland is the only country in the world where coke isn't the best-selling soft drink, Haggis is one of many national dishes, a Quaich is a bowl-shaped drinking-vessel (usually a museum-piece) trousers are very common, and the sporran is a Victorian invention, due to the modern kilt not being long enough to be folded into pockets, like the true plaid - from which it evolved. (And it's, "Ma," not, "Me.")

I once read a book set in a, "Scottish," society by an American fantasy author - I threw it into the corner in disgust after the third, "I don't ken."
 

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#7
Pretty much. It's only Glaswegians who call each other, "Jimmy," "Och aye !" (Oh yes !) isn't as common as it used to be and, "The noo," (just now) is pretty rare to - no Scot who ever lived has said both together. Irn Bru is the reason that Scotland is the only country in the world where coke isn't the best-selling soft drink, Haggis is one of many national dishes, a Quaich is a bowl-shaped drinking-vessel (usually a museum-piece) trousers are very common, and the sporran is a Victorian invention, due to the modern kilt not being long enough to be folded into pockets, like the true plaid - from which it evolved. (And it's, "Ma," not, "Me.")

I once read a book set in a, "Scottish," society by an American fantasy author - I threw it into the corner in disgust after the third, "I don't ken."
" I dinna ken"
 

Amelia Faulkner

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#8
I get a similar visceral response to Oirish settings EE BEGORRAH GUINNESS AH SO BLARNEY STONE LEPRECHAUN GARDA ST PADDY'S GO ON. My eye begins to twitch and I throw things.
 

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#9
When we were camping in Scotland and my sister was extremely young, she came back and told us that a man in the shower block called, 'Och Aye,' was looking for the 'Boxies' he had lost. My, how we all laughed!

It really annoys me when authors get geography wrong, or else just make up fictitious places because the real places don't fit their story, but that is probably just my own problem! Iain Banks and Neal Stephenson have done it and I still read them.
 

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#11

Only in Dundee, or, "Oor Wullie," books (scuttlebutt is that the animals on Noah's Ark were understandably nervous - so much so that the decks became slippery. So they shovelled it up, tipped it over the side, and called it Dundee. The lost tribe of Israel eventually found it and, because their language made them a little conspicuous, bought every Broons and Oou Wullie they could find, and taught themselves Scots from them. Of course, this story comes from Perth, and is not without bias.:ROFLMAO:).

Most Scots say, "Dinnae," not, "Dinna."
 

martin321

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#13
I've not read the book, but I'm watching the TV series. Almost all the action takes place near Inverness.

I just checked the kindle edition, where the sentence is "...stereopticon views of Perth...". If you look up stereopticon in Wikipedia you'll find out that it is basically a slide projector. So the author is implying that Mrs Baird has a lot of slides of Perth, which she sometimes shows to her guests.
 

Brian G Turner

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#14
where the sentence is "...stereopticon views of Perth...". If you look up stereopticon in Wikipedia you'll find out that it is basically a slide projector. So the author is implying that Mrs Baird has a lot of slides of Perth, which she sometimes shows to her guests.
Well solved that man - I will now go sit in the naughty corner. :)
 

Caledfwlch

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#16
I've just started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and have a question about the setting.

Chapter 1 opens with the title "1946, Inverness". But when Claire is in Mrs Baird's living room she looks out on "stereoscopic views of Perth".

Oh - so she's in Perth? Which is confusing because Claire constantly states that she's in the Highlands, and Perth is in the lowlands of Scotland - you can see the Highlands rising up north of that city. And I'm not aware of a "Perth" in or near Inverness itself.

Claire does mention a standing stone at the end of the road outside, and names it as Clach Mhor. However, the only reference to a Clach Mhor I can find is on North Uist in the Hebrides!

Which all leaves me very confused as to where Chapter 1 takes place! Was the mention of Perth a typo, have they not reached Inverness yet ... or is the geography hopelessly mixed up?
The quick answer - she's an American Author who can't be bothered even to look at a map, if basic googling is too difficult for her. :(
One can understand and forgive errors of language/dialect, that can be much harder, especially with something like the British Isles, where accent & dialect can vary wildly from town to town, let alone county, to county, Home Nation to Home Nation. Here in Aberystwyth, our accent varies, often quite strongly between a town person and a "hambon" someone from the rural villages, even one thats only 3 or 4 miles from town, but errors such as you list are unforgivable.

I have been playing a PC Game - The Saboteur - it's basically Grand Theft Auto set in ww2 Occupied Paris, the Hero, Sean is Northern Irish, from Belfast and his accent and dialect doesn't sound quite right for Belfast to me, but that can be forgiven - but he then comes out with strange things like he calls a Posh British Agent a "Limey *******" I have never heard anyone outside an American, and maybe the odd Aussie (though they tend to go with Pom" use "Limey" that seems far more of an Americanism to me, than anything. The way the conversation between Sean & the "Limey" goes also seems to suggest that all of Ireland is a sovereign Republic, not just the South.

But then, many Americans, even Irish Americans especially in the early 1970's appeared to hold the strong belief that Great Britain actually invaded Ireland in 1969, annexing the North!
Of course, in 1982, many British people watched the TV News in absolute Horror, believing that the Argentinian Republic had somehow carried out the successful military invasion of the Scottish Islands above the Highlands.....!!
 

Amelia Faulkner

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#18
The quick answer - she's an American Author who can't be bothered even to look at a map, if basic googling is too difficult for her. :(
I just checked the kindle edition, where the sentence is "...stereopticon views of Perth...". If you look up stereopticon in Wikipedia you'll find out that it is basically a slide projector. So the author is implying that Mrs Baird has a lot of slides of Perth, which she sometimes shows to her guests.
 
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