A story about one man and his dog doesn’t sound original, yet Spill Simmer Falter Wither is an extraordinary novel.
Our protagonist and his dog, One Eye, take off on a road trip after One Eye bites another dog. From a socially awkward man who likes to stick to his routine this is clearly a decision made in a panic.
As the journey progresses we learn more about Ray (our protagonist, although his name is only eluded to), his upbringing and why he views the world the way he does. It is a simple story adeptly told.
What stands out is Baume’s gift as a writer, there is a great sense of place and the seasons are described beautifully. There were passages that I read numerous times solely to soak in the poetry of the words.
I didn’t want it to end, so much so that, about three quarters of the way through I put it to one side and read other books simply so I could look forward to coming back to Baume’s gorgeous words.
Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a haunting look at loneliness, isolation and ageing in our society. It’s a novel I see myself returning to frequently and discovering something new with every reread. Baume’s debut novel is one of my books of the year.