I was fortunate to pick up a proof from the Bloomsbury stand at London Book Fair in April. Cannot wait to see how it does when it is released in August.
Robert Appleyard leaves his northern mining village to walk through the countryside in search of nothing in particular. He sleeps in fields and works for his dinner. He moves on quickly from each hedgerow or ditch in which he makes his bed until he comes across a cottage, an eccentric and her dog. The education he receives could alter the course of his life.
Author: Benjamin Myers
Title: The Offing
Date of Publication: August 2019
This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. It has that rare power to plant the seed of the idea of sadness on one page and of the immense, immeasurable joy of life on the next. The true genius lies in the extent of the sadness being revealed only in its joyful opposite and there were moments where I found myself dry sobbing as I was alerted to the size of tragedy. Myers employs the poetic energy of youth to paint the landscape with no pretentiousness and the cynicism of one who has experienced was to counter it.
In a time of ongoing uncertainty and extensive hatred, the observations on war and mankind’s designs to ruin itself through war are timely if upsetting. Dulcie is a prophet in this sense and her retreat to isolation is something which I’m sure most readers will understand. In contrast the honest uncertainty of Robert and his irrepressible reaching for something will likely resonate with readers.
Featured image: Photo by DapurMelodi from Pexels