Spill Simmer Falter Wither

by Sara Baume | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0544716221 Global Overview for this book
Registered by cluricaune of Armagh, Co. Armagh United Kingdom on 3/18/2018
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by cluricaune from Armagh, Co. Armagh United Kingdom on Sunday, March 18, 2018
Sara Baume was born in Lancashire to an Irish mother and English father. The family moved to County Cork, in Ireland, when she was four. She studied Fine Art at the Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design, before taking a Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin. "Spill Simmer Falter Wither" was her debut novel, and was first published in 2015. It was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and won the Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

The short summary of the book - it's about a man and his dog - really doesn't do it justice. The man, Ray, is 57 years old and lives in a small seaside village in Ireland. He has lived alone since his father died, having never married, and struggles in company. He doesn't remember his mother - for years, he'd assumed the house had given birth to him - and he was never sent to school as a child. (To your average child that might be the stuff of dreams, but - even ignoring the lack of an education - it denied Ray the opportunity make friends and develop his social skills). He views himself as an outcast and an ogre - unloved, unlovable and unwanted in his home town.

Ray's life changes one Tuesday, as he makes his weekly trip into town. Going into a jumble shop, he spots a list of dogs needing re-homed. In one of them, Ray recognises something of a kindred spirit - unloved, a dog that most would fear, but one in need of a "compassionate and tolerant owner." Ray, on what nearly seems to be a whim, visits the pound and takes him home, naming him One Eye. As with Ray, life has dealt One Eye a lousy hand to date and he also carries a lot of fear with him. Having been bred as badger-baiting dog and been treated terribly by his previous owners, it's hardy surprising he can be somewhat cantankerous. (He's actually lost one of his eyes in a fight with a badger - hence the name). Nevertheless, the two outsiders bond and bring a lot of happiness to each other's lives. You can't help sensing, however, there's trouble for the pair ahead.

The last book I read before staring this one was "The Lonely City" by Olivia Laing. The idea of that book was to explore loneliness and city living by following the lives and work of a small group of authors. It's well reviewed, but its appeal was pretty much lost on me. This book, on the other hand, captured not only the essence of a lonely life but also the joy and love that a dog can bring. Utterly brilliant, beautifully written but very sad - a book that will stay with me for a long time.

Journal Entry 2 by cluricaune at Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Sunday, March 18, 2018
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Journal Entry 3 by cluricaune at Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom on Monday, March 19, 2018

Released 5 yrs ago (3/19/2018 UTC) at Belfast, Co. Antrim United Kingdom


Dropping this into the post for the Bordeaux Convention.

Journal Entry 4 by futurecat at Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, April 21, 2018
Picked up from the book table at the Bordeaux convention. Looks like it could be interesting.

Journal Entry 5 by futurecat at Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, July 31, 2020
An interesting story, but so depressing. I had to put it aside mid-way through and read something more cheerful before I could come back to it.

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