It is one thing to say that Baume’s character-narrator is a stranger in her depressed life; another that I fell into her life with her. Frankie’s move to her dead grandmother’s cottage does not heal her wounds but instead revitalizes her artistic sensibilities. The photographs Frankie takes of dead animals found on the property provide a strange connection to remembered works of art. These frame her persistence in this unexpectedly uplifting story of reclamation and hope.
The author of the award-winning Spill Simmer Falter Wither returns with a stunning new novel about a young artist's search for meaning and healing in rural Ireland.
Struggling to cope with urban life-and life in general-Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to her family's rural house on "turbine hill," vacant since her grandmother's death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by countryside and wild creatures, that she can finally grapple with the chain of events that led her here-her shaky mental health, her difficult time in art school-and maybe, just maybe, regain her footing in art and life.
As Frankie picks up photography once more, closely examining the natural world around her, she reconsiders seminal works of art and their relevance. With "prose that makes sure we look and listen,"* Sara Baume has written an elegant novel that is as much an exploration of wildness, the art world, mental illness, and community as it is a profoundly beautiful and powerful meditation on life.
About the Author
SARA BAUME studied fine art before earning a master’s in creative writing. Her first novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award. She is also the recipient of the Davy Byrnes Short Story Award and the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award, and lives in Cork, Ireland.
Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize
One of Booklist's "Best Books of 2017"
“With captivating writing, a vivid rural landscape and frequent references to famous works of art, Baume creates a layered experience that leaves the reader nurtured and restored. For artists and lovers of art, this will be an extra-special treat.”—BookPage
“Baume leaves nothing unturned in this dark and sometimes funny excavation of the human heart, life’s fragility and the quest for sanity in a sometimes insane world.”—Kerri Arsenault, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“This moving novel about mental health is a remarkable read for anyone who has ever felt lost.”—Real Simple, “The Best New Books to Read this Month”
"When I finished Sara Baume's new novel I immediately felt sad that I could not send it in the post to the late John Berger. He, too, would have loved it and found great joy in its honesty, its agility, its beauty, its invention. Baume is a writer of outstanding grace and style. She writes beyond the time we live in."—Colum McCann
“After a remarkable and deservedly award-winning debut, here is a novel of uniqueness, wonder, recognition, poignancy, truth-speaking, quiet power, strange beauty and luminous bedazzlement. Once again, I’ve been Baumed."—Joseph O’Connor
“Unflinching, at times uncomfortable, and always utterly compelling, A Line Made By Walking is among the best accounts of grief, loneliness and depression that I have ever read. Every word of it rings true, the truth of hard-won knowledge wrested from the abyss. Shot through with a wild, yearning melancholy, it is nevertheless mordantly witty. It felt, to me, kindred to Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City: not just on a superficial level, a young woman seeking solace in art, but in the urgent depth of its quest to understand and articulate what it means to make art, and what art might mean for the individual, lost and lonely; how it might bring us out of, or back to, ourselves.”—Lucy Caldwell
“Fascinating, because of the cumulative power of the precise, pleasingly rhythmic sentences, and the unpredictable intelligence of the narrator’s mind. . . [In A Line Made By Walking] there is a reminder of the beauty that can be found when you allow yourself to look slowly and sadly at the world.”—The Guardian
“Baume writes lovely prose about unimaginable pain. A clear-eyed, beautiful rendering of a woman struggling against despair.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of Colum McCann and Richard Russo will adore this masterful and meditative novel that doesn’t emphasize plot over atmosphere."—Booklist, starred review
“A spellbinding meditation on art and life.”—The Bookseller
“Original and affecting.... Baume has taken a subject typically treated with scorn, the quarter-life crisis, and produced a portrait both particular...and instantly recognizable.”—The Observer
“Gorgeous writing . . . Comparable to the work of literary writers such as Anne Enright.”—Library Journal