Reviews

  • "This book is like a flame in daylight: beautiful and unexpected. It packs a big effect for something that seems so slight, and almost hard to see."

    Anne Enright
  • "A stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness. It is the most powerful debut novel I have read in several years . . . An outstanding new Irish novelist."

    Joseph O'Connor
  • "Unbearably poignant and beautifully told."

    Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
  • "At the foundations of the novel is the issue of what happens when a community fails those who need it most ... Baume turns the commonplace minutiae of changing seasons, thoughts and people into the remarkable."

    Sunday Times
  • "A fascinating portrait of the friendship a man develops with his dog and the companionship he also finds in books…Fear curdles through this story, which skilfully builds suspense as it discloses their painful pastsThe lyrical language is most alive when evoking landscapeBaume [has] a gift for inventive use of language…Baume succeeds is 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
  • "Extraordinary . . . Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a heartbreaking read, and heralds Baume as a major new talent."

    Independent on Sunday
  • "So far this year, I’ve read 103 books. You can understand why they might be blurring in my mind by now. Eight of them, though, are as distinct to me today as they were while I was reading them, and each for a different reason. For language that sounds like music, there’s Sara Baume’s Spill Simmer Falter Wither, about a lonely Irish outcast and his one-eyed rescue dog."

    Anne Tyler, New York Times Book Review
  • "Baume’s 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
  • "Every so often a book comes along that is so perfect it takes your breath away, and leaves your heart hammering with the beauty of the writing and the sadness of the story. Sara Baume’s debut, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, is such a book … Baume’s prose is full of wonder – inventive, poetic and dazzling, concerned with the smallest details of the natural landscape and the terrains of human emotion. Absolutely astounding."

    Psychologies
  • "A deft and moving debut…To capture this constrained setting and quiet character requires specific skills, which Baume has in spades…It’s a claustrophobic, affecting debut and Baume has a rare ability to look afresh at muted scenes and ordinary objects…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