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A debut novel already praised as "unbearably poignant and beautifully told" (Eimear McBride), this captivating story follows - over the course of four seasons - a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog.
It is springtime, and two outcasts - a man ignored, even shunned by his village, and the one-eyed dog he takes into his quiet, tightly shuttered life - find each other, by accident or fate, and forge an unlikely connection. As their friendship grows, their small seaside town suddenly takes note of them, falsely perceiving menace where there is only mishap. The unlikely duo must take to the road.
Gorgeously written in poetic and mesmerizing prose, Spill Simmer Falter Wither has already garnered wild support in its native Ireland, where the Irish Times pointed to Baume's "astonishing power with language" and praised it as "a novel bursting with brio, braggadocio and bite". It is also a moving depiction of how - over the four seasons echoed in the title - a relationship between fellow damaged creatures can bring them both comfort. One of those rare stories that utterly, completely imagines its way into a life most of us would never see, it transforms us in our understanding not only of the world but also of ourselves.
Cover image by Helen Fay.
Long-listed for The Guardian First Book Award 2015, A Readers' Choice
Long-listed for 2015 Edinburgh First Novel Award
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sara on 03-14-16
Blume artfully tells this story edging in from the side--not head on, as she seems to know she might scare a timid reader off. Instead, she angles into the tale allowing it to unfold gently and slowly. The reader experiences and gradually comes to really know both the man and the dog. Sweet, sad, touching, lonely, loving and at times almost unbearably poignant. The narration was superb. The writing a joy to behold. I was left speechless and listened twice. What a writer. What a book. I loved it.
101 of 109 people found this review helpful
By Kathy on 04-07-16
Exceptionally Wonderful Story!!
For me, it doesn't get any better than this book. This is the first book for Irish author, Sara Baume, which makes it all the more amazing. It is a truly wonderful listening experience. The narrator, John Keating, gives a performance that will long stay in my memory. The book calls out to me for a second listen, and I am not sure what I will do, having a backlog of books in my Library. And yet, I don't want to say goodbye to Ray and his dog, One-eye, old maggot nose!
In summary, the book is narrated by the protagonist, an older man, about 57 years old, who could be called an asocial hermit but who is really victim of an emotionally impoverished, abusive childhood, being raised by a ill-suited parent, his widowed father, since babyhood. He has adopted an outcast dog, quite unplanned, and the book is the story of this experience. Throughout the story, he is talking to the dog and this is how we learn about his life and his current circumstances. It works splendidly, trust me. I don't want to give away too many details as all will be revealed in due time.
The author has captured this man in an uncanny way which continues to make me shake my head in amazement. Her writing is exquisite. How could a first time author do that? I am so excited to have found her and can't wait to see what other stories she has in her. And for the most part, I am not one who follows or even has favorite authors.
The story is very poignant and very sad and at times, also very funny. It kept me on edge as it charged on toward an ending I was very scared to approach. It certainly had surprises along the way, some of which actually induced me to exclaim out loud to myself. Although the ending should not have been a total surprise to me, I still sat there stunned and a bit dumbfounded. And maybe a little bereft because the book was over.
Books like this don't come along every day for me. I highly recommend Spill Simmer Falter Wither if my review has at all peaked your interest (I hope so.)
86 of 94 people found this review helpful