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An extraordinary and heartbreaking debut by a major new talent.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2015

LONGLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 2015
LONGLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2016

WINNER OF THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS 2015

WINNER OF THE GEOFFREY FABER MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR FICTION


You find me on a Tuesday, on my Tuesday trip to town. A note sellotaped to the inside of the jumble-shop window: COMPASSIONATE & TOLERANT OWNER. A PERSON WITHOUT OTHER PETS & WITHOUT CHILDREN UNDER FOUR.

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

Reviews

This book is like a flame in daylight: beautiful and unexpected. It packs a big effect for something that seems so slight, and almost hard to see.

Anne Enright

A stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness. It is the most powerful debut novel I have read in several years . . . An outstanding new Irish novelist.

Joseph O'Connor

Unbearably poignant and beautifully told.

Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

At the foundations of the novel is the issue of what happens when a community fails those who need it most ... Baume turns the commonplace minutiae of changing seasons, thoughts and people into the remarkable.

Sunday Times

A fascinating portrait of the friendship a man develops with his dog and the companionship he also finds in books…Fear curdles through this story, which skilfully builds suspense as it discloses their painful pasts…The lyrical language is most alive when evoking landscape…Baume [has] a gift for inventive use of language…Baume succeeds is reawakening her reader’s capacity for wonder…so much so that the book and its one-eyed dog became companions I was loathe to leave.

Observer

Extraordinary . . . Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a heartbreaking read, and heralds Baume as a major new talent.

Independent on Sunday

So far this year, I’ve read 103 books. You can understand why they might be blurring in my mind by now. Eight of them, though, are as distinct to me today as they were while I was reading them, and each for a different reason. For language that sounds like music, there’s Sara Baume’s Spill Simmer Falter Wither, about a lonely Irish outcast and his one-eyed rescue dog.

Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review

Baume’s sympathy for her 'wonkety' characters is infectious and their relationship – in all its drama and ordinariness – beautifully conveyed. Places and smells, plants and animals are conjured with loving attention, the narrative propelled by a striking linguistic intensity…Baume’s capacity for wonder turns this portrait of an unusual friendship into a powerful meditation on humanity.

New Statesman

Every so often a book comes along that is so perfect it takes your breath away, and leaves your heart hammering with the beauty of the writing and the sadness of the story. Sara Baume’s debut, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, is such a book … Baume’s prose is full of wonder – inventive, poetic and dazzling, concerned with the smallest details of the natural landscape and the terrains of human emotion. Absolutely astounding.

Psychologies

A deft and moving debut…To capture this constrained setting and quiet character requires specific skills, which Baume has in spades…It’s a claustrophobic, affecting debut and Baume has a rare ability to look afresh at muted scenes and ordinary objects…It’s not easy to tell such a sparse tale, to be so economic with story, but the book hums with its own distinctiveness, presenting in singing prose an unforgettable landscape peopled by two unlikely Beckettian wanderers, where hope is not yet lost.

Guardian

A deft and moving debut…To capture this constrained setting and quiet character requires specific skills, which Baume has in spades…It’s a claustrophobic, affecting debut and Baume has a rare ability to look afresh at muted scenes and ordinary objects…It’s not easy to tell such a sparse tale, to be so economic with story, but the book hums with its own distinctiveness, presenting in singing prose an unforgettable landscape peopled by two unlikely Beckettian wanderers, where hope is not yet lost.

Guardian

Exhilarating . . . This is a novel bursting with brio, braggadocio and bite. Again and again it wows you with its ambition . . . It’s hard to imagine a more exciting debut novel being published this year.

Irish Times

Ambitious and impressive . . . Baume’s engaging, intriguing and brightly original first novel may mark a comparably significant debut.

Times Literary Supplement

An exceptional, startling, and original book.

Colin Barrett

This extraordinary novel was recommended to me by just about everyone I know. It is a vivid debut that shows that Baume is a talent to keeo an eye on ... It is a sweepingly poetic and heartbreaking meditation on life after grief that I won't quickly forget.

Times Educational Supplement

A subtle and powerful story about a man and his dog … Baume is in terrific control of her prose …her portrayal of her characters and her setting leap off the page … I look forward to whatever she writes next.

Big Issue

One of the most quietly devastating books of the year…What makes Baume’s book worth reading is the stark beauty of her prose. Her lyrical depictions of the Irish seascape are particularly evocative, and reminiscent of Tim Winton at his wild and wintry best…Traditionally Ireland has been synonymous with names like Joyce, Wilde, Beckett and Heaney – a small nation punching above its literary weight. Alongside the recent success of contemporaries like Eimear McBride (A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing) and Colin Barrett (Young Skins), Baume's stunning debut shows that Irish fiction is well and truly back on the map. With Spill Simmer Falter Wither she has created a dark, tender portrait of what it's like to live life on the margins.

Sydney Morning Herald

Exquisite ... the prose is full of wonder, inventive, poetic and dazzling, concerned with the smallest detail of the natural landscape and the terrain of human emotion.

Sunday Express

A mesmerising debut

Telegraph

Powerful, heartbreaking, told with great control. The writing is superb . . . I had an image of all language standing to attention, eager to serve this writer.

Mary Costello

One of the most quietly devastating books of the year … Baume's stunning debut shows that Irish fiction is well and truly back on the map. With Spill Simmer Falter Wither she has created a dark, tender portrait of what it's like to live life on the margins.

Sydney Morning Herald

Told in splendid prose, with lyrical descriptions of the landscape, it’s an involving story and possibly the best first novel to emerge from Ireland since Eimear McBride’s debut.

The Herald

Told in splendid prose, with lyrical descriptions of the landscape, it’s an involving story and possibly the best first novel to emerge from Ireland since Eimear McBride’s debut.

The Herald

Baume’s prose has an energy and cadence all of her own: utterly unsentimental, but in its open-hearted, sidelong engagement with the mercurial One Eye and the changing seasons strangely joyous.

Guardian

Heart-breaking debut from new major talent Sara Baume.

Sheerluxe

[A] joltingly original debut … Baume charts the growing dependency between these two stray souls with remarkable deftness and almost unbearable poignancy.

Mail on Sunday

Baume’s writing is poetic, delicate and inventive … and despite the undertow of humour, there’s not one whiff of sentimentality – you’re left with the sadness and chronic fearfulness of the truly lonely

The Times

[A] skilful debut … lyrical and impressive.

Literary Review

An extraordinarily fresh style …this is an atmospheric novel …Baume is undoubtedly an exceptional new talent.

The Phoenix

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099592747

    December 1, 2015

    Windmill Books

    288 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Trade Paperback

    9781785150425

    June 1, 2015

    William Heinemann

    224 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473535688

    October 8, 2015

    Cornerstone Digital

    288 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473535701

    April 23, 2015

    Cornerstone Digital

    224 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Sara Baume

A Line Made By Walking

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