Sara Baume: Books of the Year
‘Pearl Fishers’ all but doesn’t want to be found. Seek it out
Sara Baume, winner of the Davy Byrnes award this year, will release her debut novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither in 2015
In this age of easy attainability I love the idea of finding a book which all but doesn’t want to be found. Pearl Fishers by John Hutchinson (Douglas Hyde Gallery) can only be unearthed in one bookshop: the tiny one above the Douglas Hyde Gallery at Trinity College Dublin. It’s short and slight; the cover is almost completely white.
Inside are seven gleaming images, but it isn’t a book about the paintings it shows; they coexist with the text in a Sebaldian sort of way. Instead Pearl Fishers subsumes the poems of Rabindranath Tagore, the films of Robert Bresson, the songs of The Incredible String Band and Nick Drake, together with Steppenwolf, Franny and Zooey, Le Grand Meaulnes. Its loose premise is how the art we encounter early in our adult lives inexorably informs our sensibility thereafter.
In Dept of Speculation (Granta) an unnamed woman struggles to triumph over the myriad frustrations of ordinary life. Jenny Offill’s second novel is deft, brilliant and brave.
Sara Baume’s story Solesearcher1 won the 2014 Davy Byrnes Short Story Award. Her debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, will be published by Tramp Press in February