Review published on March 18, 2017.
“I am attracted to these places on the edge.” That is one quote from this book that will stay with me, as will the urge as soon as I had finished the book to look up pictures of Orkney and the other remote isles off the Scottish coast.
Amy tells us of her childhood on this remote island with a dad suffering serious mental illness and a mother who has turned to religion and away from her husband.
No wonder a troubled teenager would want to leave this barren land, head for the lights of London and sink a few drinks.
Only Amy’s drinking spirals into serious alcoholism and a dangerous life again ‘on the edge’, this time of society.
Finally, undertaking rehab, Amy decides to return to Orkney and then the further isolated island of Papay.
These wild, wonderful places are her salvation and the writing is beautiful, bringing the flora and fauna of these remote places to all our senses. As Amy’s body adjusts to sobriety we too breathe in the fresh new life she experiences.
Amy’s young life in London is troubling, as is her family history, and alcoholics are always one drink away from their addiction, but I wish her well in channelling her immense writing abilities into more novels.
The magic she describes of these islands should surely encourage more visitors too.
Philipa Coughlan 4/4
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
Canongate Books 9781782115489 pbk Aug 2016
Wellcome Book Prize 2017 shortlist: I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong