Spill Simmer Falter Wither
By Sara Baume
A misfit man finds a misfit dog. Ray, aged fifty-seven, ‘too old for starting over, too young for giving up’, and one eye, a vicious little bugger, smaller than expected, a good ratter. Both are accustomed to being alone, unloved, outcast – but they quickly find in each other a strange companionship of sorts.Tweet
St Regulus Reading Group
Unexpectedly enjoyed this book. Being a dog owner, I was quite sympathetic to the dog and the way the story unfolded was quite sad. The lonely boy and his life in the house of his father sounded horrendous. The way the story ended cause much conversation when reviewing the book, as there was a difference of opinion, which is what the book club is all about!
The mixed reaction from our reading group produced adjectives that included brilliant, fantastic, clever and, conversely, depressing. In fact some of us felt that the book was so beautifully written that it might require a second reading to appreciate it fully although not a book for those who are more plot than character driven.
The themes of love, companionship and revenge are explored. Ray’s father is absent, but influential in this unusual book.
An ugly mutt (later re-named Oneeye) who has escaped from his keepers (and their badger hunting) is adopted by Ray, the recluse who lives in a cottage by the sea. Here secrets and horrors await discovery.
“I don’t do dogs in books, but somehow the descriptive language at the start of the book captured my attention and then I lost myself in the book” was the gist of one of our reader’s comments. In total contrast, another member of the group said the descriptive passages annoyed her from page one, the whole thing could have been said quicker and she skipped to the ending which she agreed was good.
Ray’s relationship with the dog, Oneeye develops. Together they discover that freedom for them means there are choices to be made and not all of them are easy ones. Neither character ever becomes particularly likeable, but their true natures and motivations are partly justified as the reader’s understanding of their background grows.
Altogether a very well written, interesting and thought provoking book that was thoroughly enjoyed by most of our readers.
Average score 7.5/10
Sara Baume writes so beautifully that I sometimes re-read certain passages of this book. The relationship between a lonely man who finds it hard to live in the world around him and a poor mistreated dog, is wonderful. I would have preferred a clearer and more upbeat ending though.
I would recommend this book and would read more books by the author.
This unusual book was a good read. A misfit dog finds a loving home and begins the greatest adventure of his life. A heart-rending glimpse into a damaged life gives hope, for a time, yet the intrusion of the real world brings an inevitable conclusion.