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The Outrun

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  6,178 ratings  ·  769 reviews
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, whic
...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 21st 2016 by Canongate Books (first published December 31st 2015)
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Mark Yes, we went and it was a very enjoyable evening. Met some people who we'd only met 'virtually' before. Considering the nature of Amy's book was it in…moreYes, we went and it was a very enjoyable evening. Met some people who we'd only met 'virtually' before. Considering the nature of Amy's book was it incredibly brave or a little bit foolish for there to 'be drinks'?(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,178 ratings  ·  769 reviews


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Sarah Norquoy
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
On a bleak January morning in 2013 my husband decided to surprise me with a trip to Papa Westray. We would never set foot on the island but the flight from Westray to Papay is the shortest in the world, and we were doing it for the novelty/bucket list factor. It isn’t very touristy to take this flight in January, even the pilot commented so, but we’re not tourists and clearly my husband wanted to beat the rush. While we waited at Kirkwall airport for our plane I was intrigued by a young woman al ...more
Paul Bryant
Apr 07, 2016 rated it liked it
It seems a little churlish, not to say dimwitted, to read a memoir and then complain that the writer is a bit self-obsessed, but I did find that by around page 200 I wanted Amy Liptrot to give it a rest and stop bending my ear. Please, no more of the I was born to be an alcoholic but now I’m recovering day by day in the gorgeous yet bleak Orkney islands. They’re on the edge of Britain. I was born on the edge and I live on the edge all my life, geddit? Amy contemplates herself so much that even ...more
Paul
The day Amy was born on the island of Orkney her father was sectioned and taken to an institute in Aberdeen. Not the most illustrious of starts. Apart from her fathers mental heath she has an idyllic childhood, she spent hours on the Outrun, a huge field that went right to the edge of the cliffs. Her mather and father were incomers to the island, and this field was part of the farm that they owned. There is precious little for teenagers to do on these remote Scottish islands and when she got tog ...more
Liz
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Within the first few fragile months of her sobriety, Amy Liptrot moves from London back to her home in the Orkney Islands off Scotland’s northern coast. From here she writes with passion and fearless honesty about everything from her alcoholic lows to her most elevated moments in recovery, and the spectacularly unique setting of the remote island on which she lives. Since I’ve had time to think about and absorb what I read in these memoirs, I need to make this five instead of four stars. This hi ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book was a must-read for me because of the setting, the Orkney Islands, but I came away even more impressed by it than I thought I would be. Part recovery memoir, true, but Amy Liptrot writes beautifully about nature and her connection to it. I could see the islands through her eyes, and felt the balm of the freezing water and isolated winds. I had a review copy of this but will be purchasing it from the UK since it won't come out here for months.
Dianne
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2017
To be completely honest here, the sole reason I had for reading this was the setting of the book. I have a weird fascination with remote and isolated places - the Arctic circle, Antarctica, the Northwest Territories, and in this case, the Orkney Islands off Scotland's north coast between the Atlantic and the North Sea. My husband's father's family is from the Orkney Islands so when I read a review of this book and saw the setting, I was all in.

This is a memoir of a young woman, Amy Liptrot, who
...more
Fiona
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Outrun is an extraordinary narrative, a warts and all cathartic autobiographical account of recovery from alcoholism twinned with the most beautiful writing about Orkney’s natural world.

Amy Liptrot’s parents came to Orkney from England more than 30 years ago but will always be incomers and Amy, although born on Mainland, Orkney, seems to identify more with being English than Orcadian. She left for / escaped to university in London and that began her downward spiral into addiction, mainly to
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Bettie
BOTW

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06wclxn

Description: Amy Liptrot's incisive memoir of overcoming alcoholism amid the luminous Orkney landscape.

Liptrot grew up on a sheep farm on Orkney. She was shaped by the wind-swept islands, but longed for the excitement of the city. A move to London led to a life that was hedonistic and fun but she was unable to control her drinking. Her alcoholism exposed her to some terrifying situations and left her lost and lonely. At thirty she finds herself washed
...more
Alison
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, I've had a month to mull this over and have decided to remain with 3.5 stars. Pity I can't score that on the rating, so have rounded it down ....

This is a beautifully written memoir of a recovering alcoholic gone back home to Orkney after the London life proved to be harmful to her health and well-being.

Whilst I somewhat enjoyed it, I found it a bit self-absorbed at times (yes, I know it's a memoir ... see how hard I had to think about how to write this review?!). I also found the obsession
...more
The Nerdwriter
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clear-eyed memoir of recovery from alcohol addiction. Amy Liptrot's prose skips forward with assurance and clarity. The book is relatively short; so are the chapters, which makes this is a pretty quick read, but there is depth too. Reading The Outrun is like drinking cold water.

The story is simple: Liptrot, who suffered from severe alcohol addiction in her twenties, moves back to her home in Orkney after completing a rehab program in London. Orkney is a collection of islands to the north of Sc
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Alice Mc
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
This book appealed to me mainly for its setting in Orkney, a place I would love to visit someday. The descriptions of the island were beautiful and captivating. Having spent time on the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides I could relate to many of them.

However, the more I read on, the more I found myself getting quite bored. Amy Liptrot writes beautifully, but it was a bit repetitive. I think I might have found it more engaging as a chronological memoir. As it is, she jumps between the Orkney
...more
Jason
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Well one thing this book failed to do is stop my craving for visiting the Orkney Islands. So far I love everything about them, the remoteness, the history, the people, being able to experience the raw power of nature and the wildlife. One thing that doesn't appeal to me is the swimming in the sea, too cold for me, Amy Liptrot joined the Orkney polar bear club, another author who was a member who I read recently was Victoria Whitworth I'm curious to know if they ever met.

The book was not what I w
...more
Laura
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the Week:
Amy Liptrot's incisive memoir of overcoming alcoholism amid the luminous Orkney landscape.

Liptrot grew up on a sheep farm on Orkney. She was shaped by the wind-swept islands, but longed for the excitement of the city. A move to London led to a life that was hedonistic and fun but she was unable to control her drinking. Her alcoholism exposed her to some terrifying situations and left her lost and lonely. At thirty she finds herself washed up back home in Orkne
...more
Emma
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
straight up 5 stars. I loved every word of this. Essential reading if you have taken part in hipster culture/gentrification, if you have ever been in recovery, if you have ever felt like your true home is on the internet, if you have ever realised that who you are is not who you are....

I have started reading this again, straight away.
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
See my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/7A6jT35WEEQ ...more
Viv JM
The Outrun is the author's memoirs of how, returning to the remote Orkney Islands were she grew up, she manages to recover from her alcoholism. It is a lovely testament to the healing power of nature, and I felt thoroughly immersed in the wildness and beauty of the islands, as described by Liptrot.

I listened to the audiobook version, narrated very ably by Tracy Wiles, and thought the book worked especially well in audio format.
Rebecca
Put simply, this is a memoir about Amy Liptrot’s slide into alcoholism and her subsequent recovery; she also mulls over her father’s history of mental illness and the strain it put on her family. And yet it is about so much more that I’m tempted to say alcoholism is only the backstory, not the main thrust. Liptrot grew up on mainland Orkney, a tight-knit Scottish community she was eager to leave as a teenager but found herself returning to a decade later, washed up after the dissolute living and ...more
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
Scottish book, Scottish author, dealing with alcoholism and recovering from it, about nature, and finding your way home. The book was right up my alley.
Barbara
My first reaction to this book is that it was a disappointing read for me. I am fascinated by islands, love Shetland, but haven't been to Orkney, and am interested in the natural life, history, and sociology of island societies. This book gave me too little of these things I expected. It has been compared to H is for Hawk, a book I loved. The comparison is superficial as they both deal with natural life, and emotional crises.

The brief description that appears on GR and the book's cover refer to
...more
Abby Green
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a beautifully lyrical and rawly honest account of one woman's descent into darkness and her subsequent rebirth. Absolutely gorgeous. I will admit that I semi-skimmed the nature pieces, but only because I was more enthralled when she spoke of her personal experience. An inspiring and thought provoking read.
Janneke
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'I'm back here, on these windy rocks, looking for hope in my imagination and my surroundings.'

Another one for my collection of books set on isolated islands. And a wonderful one at that. Rough and poetic, and also with the clearest images of addiction I have ever come across. I loved it.
Lindsey
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brave, tender, unvarnished and beautifully written. Has to be one of the best books I've read in yonks. Well up there amongst my favourites. Brilliant.
Cathy
Unflinchingly honest and insightful - full review to follow
Paula Bardell-Hedley
"I'm gradually learning to say things sober that other people wait to say drunk."

Without a doubt, this book has been my favourite read of 2017. It was a Christmas gift from my Mother, and I am ashamed to say that it remained on my TBR shelf for several months before I settled down to read it over a long weekend break in Barmouth Bay. I mention my whereabouts because The Outrun has at its heart the wild seas of the Orkneys, so the plaintive call of oystercatchers passing overhead merely added to
...more
Arielle Walker
This took me nearly two months to read, which I think sums up my general feelings for the thing. While I sympathise with the author's struggles towards sobriety, if I had realised how completely the book would focus on - specimen-under-a-microscope focus on - the state of being an alcoholic I would never have picked it up in the first place. It's not the kind of reading I wish to engage with, for many reasons, and therefore have left one star beyond my feelings about the piece to compensate for ...more
Michael Livingston
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book: part recovery memoir, part nature writing, it tells the author's story as she sinks into alcoholism and chaos in London and slowly recovers herself exploring her childhood home, the Orkney Islands. Liptrop's writing on nature is stunning - the landscapes and animals are vivid, and you can feel the wind and rain slashing across the exposed islands. The metaphors linking the landscape and islands to her alcoholism and recovery feel a bit laboured at times, but the story is b ...more
Kelly Furniss
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I listened to this on Radio 4 as it was Book Of The Week.
This book is a very powerful, raw and honest account of alcoholism resulting in an uplifting tale of recovery aided by self discovery from returning to the authors roots on the wind swept Orkney Islands.
I have seen very closely the devastating effects this disease can have so I approached this book cautiously and emotionally but I ultimately marvelled at the strength shown to pull through this disease to sobriety.
Beautifully written and t
...more
Carol
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me after I expressed my enjoyment of Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. Although from the outset it seems to be about similar things, it is a very different book. It took me a while to get through, but it's beautifully written and has made me want to visit Orkney very much.
Bart Van Overmeire
"I want something to take the edge off. But I'm realising that times of anxiety are necessary and unavoidable and, in any case, I like the edge: it's where I get my best ideas. The edge is where I'm from. It's my home."
Waw
Elizabeth
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, lyrical, bittersweet dive into the healing brutality of nature. Especially lovely to read as a Brit living in Sweden - lots to identify with in the Orcadian landscapes.
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