• The Outrun, Amy Liptrot
      WW Norton, 9780393608960, April 25, 2017 (Non-Fiction)

      Escaping to London from her isolated Orkney Island home, Liptrot self-medicates through her 20s until she has lost her lover and most of her friends and belongings. She questions her sanity. From reflecting on her upbringing by a bipolar father and a very religious mother to the bitter and occasionally hazy kaleidoscope of events in London and the eventual need to search for healing, The Outrun is Liptrot’s health and spiritual journey. Liptrot’s voice is so strong and so true, it is impossible not to care about her. Stumbling to understand her alcoholic choices and looking for change, she returns to the isles. In The Outrun, which is part personal revelations, part Orcadian history, and part nature observations, Liptrot chooses a mostly solitary life, using technology to stay in touch and to explore the isles. The minute-by-minute struggle to stay sober counterbalances the ebb and flow of the ocean and winds and the passing seasons. This debut is striking and compelling. I was enthralled by Liptrot’s descriptions of the islands, their history, geology, and living beings. I rooted for her recovery and personal discoveries.

      -Becky Milner, Vintage Books (Vancouver, WA)

      Kudos for transporting me to the Orkneys, a place I’d love to visit but will probably never make, and to the incomprehensible depths of alcoholism that I hope never to visit. This stunningly written journal of recovery is by a young woman, island-raised, who couldn’t wait to get off to the big city and bright lights, but found that she couldn’t handle it. Despite the reasons for her descent into alcoholism, her method of recovery — self-banishment to barely inhabited islands filled with charms of nature, geology, and archeology — seems to have worked. But it may not be possible for everyone. 

      -Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common (Ridgefield, CT)

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