The title, spill simmer falter wither (all lower case, no punctuation) makes this debut novel by Sara Baume sound more like a collection of poetry than the rather addictive yarn of Ray, a 57-year old loner, a “boulder of a man”, and his former badger-baiting rescue dog, Oneye. But don’t let the title put you off because while this is certainly an inventive and literary novel, it is also an engaging and rather addictive read.
Neither Ray nor his bad-tempered one-eyed dog is particularly likeable and yet each evokes sympathy so that you find yourself rooting for them as they traverse the seasons, walking, driving and camping out on the beaches and rural roads of Ireland.
Quality of writing marks Sara Baume as one to watch
Then again it’s not the characters or the plot so much as the quality of writing that makes spill simmer falter wither a read to savour. The language used by Sara Baume is inventive and imaginative and her words surprise and delight like a perfectly presented tasting menu.
An original and satisfying read, spill simmer falter wither is published by Tramp Press at €12 (pbk).
[Disclosure: an advance copy was made available by the publisher for the purpose of this review].