The Outrun: Book summary and reviews of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot

The Outrun

A Memoir

by Amy Liptrot

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot X
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2017
    304 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

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.

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 toward recovery from addiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Orkney legends tell of seals changing into humans, but, here, Liptrot is the shape-shifter, peeling off her wetsuit like blubber after snorkeling in the ice-cold sea." - Publishers Weekly

"An ordinary addiction memoir set in an extraordinary place - worth reading for the descriptions of life on a 'beautiful, barely touched stretch of land.'" - Kirkus

"The Outrun will no doubt sit alongside ... Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk - the sheer sensuality of Liptrot's prose and her steely resolve immediately put her right up there with the best of the best." - The New Statesman (UK)

"Uncompromising and lyrical…Liptrot's writing is strong and sure… The Outrun is a bright addition to the exploding genre of writing about place and our place in the natural world." - The Observer (UK)

"A lyrical, brave memoir… [Liptrot] walks the hills and dances between the standing stones of Stenness; she joins a wild swimming club and, hauling herself from the gelid waters, 'naked on the beach, I am a selkie slipped from its skin.' It's this aptitude Liptrot has for marrying her inner-space with wild outer-spaces that makes her such a compelling writer - and one to watch." - The Guardian (UK)

"The Outrun is an astonishingly beautiful book… Her account of her addiction and recovery is electric, sexy, immediate, and raw, leaving the reader reeling in her wake. And yet she's also elegant, thoughtful, and controlled… A luminous, life-affirming book." - Olivia Laing

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Author Information

Amy Liptrot

Amy Liptrot received the Wainwright Prize for The Outrun, which was also shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. As well as writing for local newspaper, Orkney Today, and editing the Edinburgh Student newspaper, she has worked as an artist's model, a trampolinist, and in a shellfish factory.

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