Ray is an outcast, who makes his way to town every Tuesday to pick up necessities. It is on one of these trips that he sees a poster from the local animal shelter, advertising a scruffy-looking, one-eyed mutt for adoption. He immediately adopts the dog, who he names one-eye. Ray never went to public school, instead staying at home, reading whatever books he came across. He never knew his mother and his father was often absent. One-eye is not Lassie, but a real dog that attacks other dogs and finds nasty things to roll in. In a way, he becomes Ray's canine therapist, as Ray slowly reveals his tortured past and years of loneliness. This is not a feel-good book, and there is an underlying sense of dread, as if something dark and ominous is just around the corner. The last few pages of Spill Simmer Falter Wither still haunt me a week after I closed the book. A powerful debut.
“Baume's debut novel is a heartbreaking story of loneliness and friendship, depression and pure joy, as revealed through the relationship between a man and the dog he rescues. Baume's transcendent use of language and utterly original voice had me stopping to read whole sentences -- even entire paragraphs -- aloud. Spill Simmer Falter Wither is an amazing achievement by a writer who makes her work seem effortless.”
— Mary Wolf (M), Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe, NM
Winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature * Winner of the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year Award * Short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award * Long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize * Long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award 2015, Readers' Choice * Long-listed for the Warwick Prize for Writing 2015 * Long-listed for 2015 Edinburgh First Novel Award
"A deeply attuned portrait of the human mind...An unsettling literary surprise of the best sort."--Atlantic
"This book is like a flame in daylight: beautiful and unexpected."--Anne Enright
It is springtime, and two outcasts--a man ignored, even shunned by his village, and the one-eyed dog he takes into his quiet, tightly shuttered life--find each other, by accident or fate, and forge an unlikely connection. As their friendship grows, their small, seaside town falsely perceives menace where there is only mishap--and the duo must take to the road.
Gorgeously written in poetic and mesmerizing prose, Spill Simmer Falter Wither is one of those rare stories that utterly and completely imagines its way into a life most of us would never see. It transforms us in our understanding not only of the world, but also of ourselves.
"A man-and-his-dog story like no other."--San Francisco Chronicle
" Spill Simmer Falter Wither] hums with its own distinctiveness."-- Guardian (UK)
"A tour de force...A stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness." --Joseph O'Connor, for the Irish Times
About the Author
Sara Baume studied fine art before earning a Master's in Creative Writing. Her short fiction has appeared in the The Moth, The Stinging Fly, the Irish Independent, and others. She won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award and the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. She lives in Cork with her two dogs.