Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume – Book Review

Title: Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Author: Sara Baume

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Literary, Ireland, Loneliness

Blurb from Goodreads

A misfit man finds a misfit dog.

Ray, aged fifty-seven, ‘too old for starting over, too young for giving up’, and One Eye, a vicious little bugger, smaller than expected, a good ratter.

Both are accustomed to being alone, unloved, outcast – but they quickly find in each other a strange companionship of sorts.

As spring turns to summer, their relationship grows and intensifies, until a savage act forces them to abandon the precarious life they’d established, and take to the road.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a wholly different kind of love story: a devastating portrait of loneliness, loss and friendship, and of the scars that are more than skin-deep. Written with tremendous empathy and insight, in lyrical language that surprises and delights, this is an extraordinary and heartbreaking debut by a major new talent

My Review

I feel broken.




I don’t know what to make of this book. It’s absolutely beautiful. Utterly heartbreaking.

But I hate it. Yet I also love it.

Oh my poor heart…

“Sometimes I see the sadness in you, the same sadness that’s in me. It’s in the way you sigh and stare and hang your head. It’s in the way you never wholly let your guard down and take the world I’ve given you for granted. My sadness isn’t a way I feel but a thing trapped inside the walls of my flesh, like a smog. It takes the sheen off everything. It rolls the world in soot. It saps the power from my limbs and presses my back into a stoop.”


I have tried and tried and tried to write a review for this book.

COUNTLESS drafts and so many notes made but I still can’t find the words.

This book is too close to my heart right now. It’s too much. It is just so beautiful. It portrays loneliness and desolation so honestly. And the way the narrative works… You’ll just feel everything so keenly.

It’s the story of a misfit man and a misfit dog. They’re both outcasts; both alone, both lacking any kind of love or compassion in their lives and yet they find each other and it is just the most beautiful, honest and painful story of love and friendship, of intolerance and fear, and of running from and facing the past.

The writing itself is flawless, absolutely FLAWLESS!!! The plot is slow moving yes, but it’s supposed to be!!!! Loneliness causes the world to seemingly slow down around you…oh this book THIS BOOK!!!!!!! Gaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Just read it.

READ IT!!!!!!!

This is the book that I want to run after everyone I meet with and just place it into their hands, forcibly if I have to. Heck I will just throw it at random strangers just so I can make people read this amazingly brilliant wonderful book.

Okay I would have liked a slightly different ending. Not that there’s anything wrong with the ending. It’s actually pretty perfect. I just wanted more pain for my buck….. I KNOW THAT SOUNDS TERRIBLE!!!!!!! It didn’t go the direction I wanted that’s all.

And technically it’s not really the ending that I didn’t like. It’s more in the lead up to it.

The causation perhaps?

The ending actually makes perfect sense, it feels realistic to the story….

But for me I wanted the author to go somewhere else with her main character. I needed to see him even more battered and beaten on the floor and his bleeding heart exposed for all of us to see. Figuratively speaking of course. I’m not an actual masochist! To me there was a slightly braver ending out there. A little more endlessness and a little less tidy. A little more bleak and hopeless. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense especially if you do read the book and the ending and then come back and go ‘Éimhear what the actual heck are you on about because that ending wasn’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows!!!!’

So yeah…. #awkward ……

Let’s all agree that I’m stark-raving-bonkers-mad, cuckoo looney tunes!!!!!!!!!

Oh but this book. This beautiful, beautiful book. I love it and I hate it too. It’s beautiful and it’s ugly. It’s painful yet freeing. It’s gorgeously written. It’s got a dog in it! It’s pretty much perfection.

“Now everything holds a diaphanous kind of potential. Now everything is so quiet and so nice and I feel ever so faintly less strange, less horrible. It makes me uneasy. It reminds me how I must remember to be distrustful of good fortune.”

Other Works by Sara Baume I’ve Reviewed

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19 thoughts on “Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume – Book Review

    1. Oh this review is such a disappointment compared to the book. Baume is a truly exceptional writer. Her prose, her ability to craft atmosphere and intent, her characters, how she strips away everything but honesty and integrity… she’s one of my favourite authors for sure

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have never heard of this one and I don’t know if it would be the book for me but I don’t know, I may just give it a try. Great review, Emer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I needed to see him even more battered and beaten on the floor and his bleeding heart exposed for all of us to see.” I ummm…actually get what you meaaannnn!!! 😭😭😭😭😭

    And heyyyy!! THIS ONE SOUNDS ABSOLUTELY HEARTWRENCHING AND I LOVE IT! GODDDD!! You make me wannna read too many books, hon! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!!😍😍😍😍😍


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this book before, but now I’m dying to read it. Books that leave me on the floor as a sobbing mess are my kind of thing. But I totally understand what you mean when you say you wanted the main character to suffer a little more. My friends all think I’m psychopathic when I say something like that aloud 😂😂 But anyway, this book is definitely going on my TBR. Thanks for another wonderful review! 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WAHEY SOMEONE ELSE WHO GETS IT! Honestly Baume is such an amazing author that I feel she can take all the risks with her writing. That she can push her characters to the brink because it unmasks the essence of true humanity. I just can’t praise her writing more highly. Her second book, A Line Made by Walking, that I read after this one is true perfection. It showed such growth from the first novel ….and considering the first novel was fab to begin… definitely an author to read 😊😊😊❤️💛🧡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe it’s ok, I get like that with books I love too, I think I once hit my hubby (not too hard ofc) to read it just read it lol he didn’t just took it off me and put it down lol and patted me on the head 😂 😂

        Liked by 1 person

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