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Sara Baume was born in Lancashire and grew up in Co. Cork. She studied fine art and creative writing and her short fiction has been published in journals such as The Stinging Fly magazine and the Dublin Review. She won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award and the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. She now lives in Cork with her two dogs.
March 2017 Book of the Month. Frankie studies art and then works in a gallery in Dublin. The owner only issues part-time contracts for graduating students so after a year she is out of work. Depression and the cusp of mental breakdown follow. She’s twenty-five. She goes home and then persuades her mother that she can care-sit her deceased grandmother’s bungalow while it is on the market. It is here, through the death of a robin, that she decides to commence on an art project photographing dead wild animals, predominantly roadkill. We get the badly produced black and white, grainy photos in the text plus a whole lot of conceptual art references which, in the author’s notes, we are encouraged to look up for we have been given the character’s memory of that part of her studies in “I test myself” sections. Doom and gloom set in. She loses weight and reflects on her childhood and nature, these are the highlights of the book. Her mother is a saint. Unlike the author’s sparsely written first novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, which developed slowly and was immensely poignant and uplifting, this one is long and dense as Frankie tries to cope with a world that is wrong and a sadness that is crushing her. The result is an extraordinary meditation on art, loneliness and life. I believe it is semi-autobiographical. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Winner of the 2016 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016. Slow starting first-person monologue that builds into a hypnotic tale which becomes utterly compulsive. It is a novel of companionship, loss and fear. Our narrator, a frightened, dysfunctional, 57-year old man, talks to an equally dysfunctional rescue dog who has a tendency to viciously attack other dogs. Half way through the book our frightened narrator, who has always hid in his home, becomes too frightened to even stay there and the two set off round Ireland’s tiny villages, sleeping in his clapped out old car in gateways and such. Lots of detail, lots of nature observations and lots of early memories make this an interestingly different and poignant read. Stay with it, it will grab you. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Costa Judges' comment: “A tough but tender, brilliant read full of fresh wonder. One to cherish.” One of our Books of the Year 2015. November 2015 Debut of the Month. Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2015. Click here to read an article by Sara Baume on how she came to write this book.
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