The author of the award-winning Spill Simmer Falter Wither returns with a stunning new novel about a young artist's search for meaning and healing in rural Ireland.
Struggling to cope with urban life - and life in general - Frankie, a 20-something artist, retreats to her family's rural house on "turbine hill", vacant since her grandmother's death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by countryside and wild creatures, that she can finally grapple with the chain of events that led her here - her shaky mental health, her difficult time in art school - and maybe, just maybe, regain her footing in art and life.
As Frankie picks up photography once more, closely examining the natural world around her, she reconsiders seminal works of art and their relevance. With "prose that makes sure we look and listen" (Atlantic), Sara Baume has written an elegant novel that is as much an exploration of wildness, the art world, mental illness, and community as it is a profoundly beautiful and powerful meditation on life.
Editors Select, April 2017 - Baume's previous novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, was a moving and transcendent debut that made her a writer to watch for me. Now, with her follow-up, she's solidified herself as a writer I think we need more than ever - a writer for those of us who, at times, feel lost or worry that they feel things a little too much. Again Baume forgoes a narrative plot for something more meditative, reflective, and ultimately expansive. Swept into her inner monologue, we follow Frankie - a 20-something aspiring artist in the throes of an existential crisis - as she retreats to her dead grandmother's bungalow in rural Ireland to contemplate the meaning and purpose not just of art but of her own life. A truly intimate novel; narrator Heather O'Neill reads with a grace and ache that matches Baume's emotional intelligence and will leave you breathless. Doug, Audible Editor
"When I finished Sara Baume's new novel I immediately felt sad that I could not send it in the post to the late John Berger. He, too, would have loved it and found great joy in its honesty, its agility, its beauty, its invention. Baume is a writer of outstanding grace and style. She writes beyond the time we live in." (Colum McCann)
"After a remarkable and deservedly award-winning debut, here is a novel of uniqueness, wonder, recognition, poignancy, truth-speaking, quiet power, strange beauty and luminous bedazzlement. Once again, I've been Baumed." (Joseph O'Connor)
"Unflinching, at times uncomfortable, and always utterly compelling, A Line Made by Walking is among the best accounts of grief, loneliness and depression that I have ever read. Every word of it rings true, the truth of hard-won knowledge wrested from the abyss. Shot through with a wild, yearning melancholy, it is nevertheless mordantly witty. It felt, to me, kindred to Olivia Laing's The Lonely City: not just on a superficial level, a young woman seeking solace in art, but in the urgent depth of its quest to understand and articulate what it means to make art, and what art might mean for the individual, lost and lonely; how it might bring us out of, or back to, ourselves." (Lucy Caldwell)
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Sorry, But This Lacks Elegance...
- D. Martzall