Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither

By: Sara Baume
Location: FIC BAU
Genre: Road trip and pilgrimage with a man and his dog!

“Life never misses an opportunity to upscuttle us, I think. Life likes to tell us it told us so.”

I am excited by this book, a journey about a man and his dog, both broken, both needing redemption and hope.  Dogs have a power, the power to draw out of a man or woman depth of being, whether it be love or anger, joy or sorrow. Our dog Rex did this for most of our family members and this story eloquently written in stunning prose retells another version of a man and his dog set  in the dales of Ireland.

A moving tale of a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog, and how despite what society thinks, for them two wrongs make a right. Narrated by our unnamed misfit man, we piece together the past as we roll through the seasons of the present.
The man has always been an outcast, with developmental disabilities, raised by his father after his mother died when he was baby. When he cries, his father abandons him by the roadside, where he's luckily found and brought home by a neighbor. After that he learns not to cry.
His canine companion is a one-eyed fighting dog, abused by his previous owners and made to fight badgers. Both are shunned by society and so form a wonderful bond, at times funny, at other heart-breaking, but so rock solid that they go to extraordinary lengths to stay together. Poignant and melancholic, this is at heart a love story. With two starcross'd lovers that no man can rend asunder. It also has a dark dry humor running through it. Including my favourite quote comparing OneEye to the saccharine-sweet Enid Blyton dog, Timmy -
"I've never read you any Famous Five. I should, I think you'd like it. I'm trying to remember whether Timmy ever scoffed lumps of shit or savaged guileless walkers. I don't think so."
The characters stay with you long after you've read the final page, a testament to Baume's wonderful descriptive prose. A great great novel, hugely recommended says Helen Marquis

"A heartbreaking and forceful pilgrimage that defines new notions of beauty and captures so intensely the thoughts and feelings that would usually be hidden in isolation. This is a visceral story that consumes the reader in the blinding loneliness of our protagonist and simultaneously delivers liberty through the robust love between man and animal. " Sean


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