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About the book
  • Published: 8 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9781473535688
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288
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Spill Simmer Falter Wither




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

  • Pub date: 8 October 2015
  • ISBN: 9781473535688
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the Author

Sara Baume

Sara Baume was born in Lancashire and grew up in County Cork, Ireland. She studied fine art and creative writing and her fiction and criticism have been published in anthologies, newspapers and journals such as the Irish Times, the Guardian, The Stinging Fly and Granta magazine. She has won the Davy Byrne’s Short Story Award, the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, the Rooney Prize for Literature, an Irish Book Award for Best Newcomer and the Kate O’Brien Award. Her debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Warwick Prize for Writing and the Desmond Elliott Prize. She has received a Literary Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Line Made by Walking is her second novel. She lives in West Cork.

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Praise for Spill Simmer Falter Wither

“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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