By Amy Liptrot
A remarkable memoir about recovery from addiction that marks the arrival of a significant new voice in nature writingTweet
"Largely about the relationship between nature and healing but also bringing in ideas of community, belonging, mental health, and dealing with addiction. It’s beautifully written, does sometimes feel like someone going on about themselves endlessly but that’s the nature of the genre. I learnt a lot about Orkney, perhaps less about addiction but I think it’s hard to make that topic feel new after so many memoirs. I think because of its intense sense of place, of chosen (relative) isolation and how that mirrors addiction I think it offers a lot to the reader whether they have experience of those things or not. It is the kind of nonfiction that fiction readers would read."
"The Outrun draws on the wild beauty and healing power of life on the Isles of Orkney. It contrasts the hectic impersonal life of the urban city with the more relaxed nature of this remote location. The story is not a misery biography and smoothly brings you forward using brief snapshots in the life of a recovering alcoholic exploring their addiction, the treatment and attitudes of the recovery process. It explores how returning back home and the enchantment of these isles gave them a chance to regain control of their life. This non-threatening book has broadened my understanding of alcoholism and the setting, and it would encourage others to read more narrative non-fiction"
"I adored this book. It is an excellent example of narrative non-fiction and is elegantly written. It would definitely encourage others to read this genre as the author’s past experiences are beautifully interwoven with her current self-imposed exile on Orkney. The book focuses on the author’s decline into alcoholism and her painful recovery. The narrative is frank, stark, insightful and lyrically expressed. But there is also much hope and scenes of breathtaking beauty. If anything, the book is a symbol of hope - of how the battle from darkness to light is won. It has given me a huge understanding of the disease of alcoholism, and how it can affect anyone from any background; and also the life-long battle for sobriety. The book provided invaluable insight into the life of the author and the unique character of life on the Orkney Islands, in addition to commentary on wildlife, thoughts on life in the modern era and a personal analysis of addiction. There is much to discuss here, from the themes the author herself raises on life in contemporary times, to the diseases of alcoholism and addiction, to the state of the shifting demographic of Scottish Islands. And at the backdrop there is the windblown desolation of the Orkneys, the beautiful scenery and connection to nature that can be disappointingly rare in our urban lives. Personally, I can’t wait until the book arrives on bookshelves and can officially recommend it to other readers! Also, secretly hoping for a sequel."
It was a combination of searing honesty and wonderful observation about humanity and nature. The story takes you from remote landscape to inner-city life and back again as Amy describes her struggle with alcoholism and mental health in the hothouse atmosphere of London and how she rises above it in the wildness of the Orkneys.