This unique new offering from award-winning writer Sara Baume meditates on the humility and grandeur of love and nature with precision and lyricism. Baume’s exquisite prose trains a painterly eye on the smallest of moments, observing the slow growth of her protagonists away from the people they thought they were, away from the homes they have left. Instead, they look towards the mountain on their new, remote doorstep, ascending from the landscape, ‘as if it had accumulated stature over centuries. As if, over centuries, it had steadily flattened itself upwards’; towards a mountain that they may never climb to see the seven standing stones, seven schools, and seven steeples visible from its peak.
The novel itself spans seven years, following young couple Bell and Sigh from the beginning of their relationship through the life they create together, withdrawn from the city world so familiar to them. As they grow in devotion to each other and the landscape that surrounds them, we see neither solitude nor misanthropy, but a love so tender that it could only blossom if all else, all that could cast a shadow over it, disappeared.
So, if the world won’t disappear, Bell and Sigh can instead, turning their backs on tradition to follow a quieter path, form their own rituals, create a new home.
Words: Hannah Clarkson