3 of 5
The Outrun
304 pages; W. W. Norton & Company
As a young woman, Amy Liptrot seeks to escape her rough, rural childhood in the nightlife of London, only to find her depression, drug use and drinking magnified by the hard-living city. After losing her flat, her job and her lover, she enters rehab for a third time. Once released, she returns home to the remote Orkney Islands off Scotland, "washed back, like the inevitable tide." Weaving in Orkney myths about the Merry Dancers (translation: northern lights), hillyans (mythical hill folk) and haar (sea fog), Liptrot examines the farm labor and mental illness that so influenced her early life. She reunites with her family and resumes a life lived in overalls and work gloves, raising lambs, repairing drystone walls and combing beaches with "wellies full of sea water and rotting whale slime." A sprawling, lush tale. Full of heart and honesty.
— Kelly McMasters