The Outrun

The Outrun

Book - 2016
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When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey. Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father's mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London. Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife - puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings - and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey towards recovery from addiction. The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind and the moon to restore life and renew hope.
Publisher: Edinburgh : Canongate, 2016.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781782115472
Branch Call Number: 921 LIPTR
Characteristics: xiv, 280 pages : maps ; 23 cm


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Nov 22, 2017

A wonderful, well written memoir with beautiful asides about living in the Orkney Islands. I will go there someday and think of Amy as I explore.

martha_w Jul 06, 2017

I initially picked this up not because of the subject matter but the setting -- addiction memoirs aren't generally my cup of tea, but it's set largely on the Orkney islands in Scotland, which I'll be visiting this summer, and I thought it might make for an interesting read. And 'interesting' doesn't really begin to cover it. This is extremely reminiscent of Helen MacDonald's "H is for Hawk" in that that book was equally about grief and hawks, in the same way that this book is equally about the Orkneys and alcoholism, but while MacDonald's book at times felt claustrophobic, so centered on her relationship with her hawk, holed up in her tiny house, this one felt wild and open and wide-ranging, much like the landscapes Liptrot describes. The writing is absolutely beautiful, and if you don't finish this book with an intense desire to drop everything and hop on a plane to Scotland, then I'll be quite surprised. The bits about addiction are good enough, but it is the meditation on the power of nature (and specifically the Orkneys) that makes this unforgettable.

Jun 21, 2017

A fascinating read in many different ways.

Jan 09, 2017

This is a book about addiction and the restorative power of nature. For anyone who has visited the spectacularly beautiful Orkney Islands, this book will be particularly enjoyable.

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