Spill Simmer Falter Wither (Baume)

Book Reviews
[A] lovely book…destined to become a small classic of animal communion literature.
Wall Street Journal

A tour de force.... No writer since JM Coetzee or Cormac McCarthy has written about an animal with such intensity. This is a novel bursting with brio, braggadocio and bite. Again and again it wows you with its ambition…. At its heart is a touching and inspiriting sense of empathy, that rarest but most human of traits. Boundaries melt, other hearts become knowable…. This book is a stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness.
Joseph O'Connor - Irish Times

An ambitious stylist with an astonishing eye for detail and a clear passion for language. But it is the beautifully measured control of plot and the authenticity of the narrative voice that most impresses.
Irish Examiner

A deft and moving debut.... To capture this constrained setting and quiet character requires specific skills, which Baume has in spades.... 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 (UK)

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.
Herald (UK)

"[A] joltingly original debut.... Baume charts the growing dependency between these two stray souls with remarkable deftness and almost unbearable poignancy.
Mail on Sunday (UK)

Sara Baume’s exquisite debut has a simple plot: an outcast man and his dog One Eye take to the road in a ramshackle car and watch the world, weather and seasons change as they drive through the highways and byways of Ireland. But 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, as Baume heartbreakingly describes how an ordinary life can falter and stall.
Sunday Express (UK)

[A] fine debut.... Baume succeeds in 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-Guardian (UK)

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

One of the most quietly devastating books of the year…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

An unsettling literary surprise of the best sort. This first novel’s voice is singular in its humility and imaginative range.... What gives Baume’s book its startling power…is her portrait of an unexpectedly protean mind at work.... Baume’s prose makes sure we look and listen. Her book insists we take notice.

[Baume’s] rhythmic, intimate prose abounds with startling sights, smells and sounds.... [Her] 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

(Starred review.) This haunting debut novel by an award-winning Irish short story writer will appeal to readers who don't mind a little darkness in their dog stories. The detailed and almost poetic descriptions of the natural world as the seasons change add an element of enchantment to this lovely story. —Dan Forrest, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
Library Journal

Elegant, heartbreaking, and inspiring.... The lyric, lilting style of Baume’s voice will endear even animal non-lovers to her thrilling and transformative story. With echoes of Mark Haddon’s narrative style and a healthy dose of empathy for the lost and lonely among us, Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a superlative first novel.

[I]t seems unreal that Ray could grow up without attending school and without any social services intervention. Baume perhaps means to make a statement about marginalized people..., but something doesn't quite ring true in Ray's isolation. The vague, sad ending doesn't help.
Kirkus Reviews

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