Blurb from Goodreads
25-year-old Frankie is living in Dublin and working part-time in a public gallery. But increasingly anxious, she abruptly quits her bedsit to live in her deceased grandmother’s creaking house in rural Ireland, close to her family. With an artist’s gift for observation, Frankie recounts the beauty and the obliteration of the world as the seasons change around her, from roadkill to kitchen curios, all the while struggling to understand her place in it.
This tour-de-force follow-up to Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a celebration of the extraordinary in the everyday, and Baume’s prose elevates the ordinary and finds inspiration in the strange.
note: read and reviewed in March 2017
When I read Sara Baume’s first novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, last year I was mesmerised by it.
Completely taken in by the beauty of the story and it became one of my favourite books of the year.
This spring (2017) has brought the release of her second novel, ‘A Line Made by Walking’. And I am yet again utterly mesmerised by its haunting beauty. The honesty of the story. The lyrical quality of the prose.
I am less fearful of being alone than I am of not being able to be alone
It’s a very quiet read and is more a character study than a plot driven novel. It focuses on Frankie, a woman in her mid twenties, who flees from her life in the city to take shelter in her deceased grandmother’s house in the Irish countryside. Frankie is very much the disaffected millennial. Awkward in the company of others and unable to come to terms with this adult version of her. The study shows her struggles with depression, with identity and with the basic functions of living and breathing in our ever more demanding and material driven world.
People don’t like it when you say real things
What makes this novel so memorable is the honesty of the words. Frankie is cut open and her blood spilled across these pages for us to see and read. Her soul is laid bare and for me, this became an exceptionally intimate reading experience. Reading to yourself is a unique experience. No two people will ever read a book the same way, or will even infer all the same meaning as the author poured into their work. That’s why it’s incredibly hard for me to express my emotions about this book. I feel that in revealing my love for this book I reveal too much of my self. That very private and personal kernel that is me. Because this book has touched that very quiet part of my soul. It took me the best part of three weeks to read. I couldn’t read faster. I just physically couldn’t. The book seemed to demand too much of my soul that I could only read in short sittings. But each sitting was a perfect moment in time. In fact, I recommend savouring a book such as this instead of racing through it. As you could expect from this book it does not necessarily end but continues with the journey of life. It is one of the most poetic character studies I have ever had the privilege to read.
I can’t recommend this more highly to anyone who likes literary fiction and to anyone interested in reading something true about modern Ireland. It is also a book that would be very appealing to anyone with an interest in all aspects of art as the character of Frankie is an artist and views the world with artist’s eyes. During each chapter of the book a photo is shared representing Frankie’s current art project that looks at the continuous cycle of life and death and how life is never truly understood until after death. These photos are of found deceased wild animals (robin, fox, hare etc.) but they are not shared in some sort of grotesque fashion if that is something that would worry you. I am particularly squeamish and had no such issues. Instead they added another layer to this book that made it truly feel like its own art installation.
I think: art is everywhere. I think: art is every inexplicable thing.
In Sara Baume I have found a new favourite author. And what makes this so exceptional is that she is Irish (technically born in the UK to one Irish parent and one British one but has lived in Co. Cork since early childhood). I always tend to be harsher in my criticisms of Irish authored and Irish set works.
So I really never thought this day would come…
An Irish novel getting five stars!
But here it is…
I had initially borrowed this from the library but due to the beauty of the cover, my falling for the story and my desire to support Irish publishing I bought a Tramp Press first edition to add to my collection.
And it looks utterly beautiful sitting in my bookcase.