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A Line Made by Walking

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,930 ratings  ·  333 reviews
The author of the award-winning Spill Simmer Falter Wither returns with a stunning new novel about a young artist's search for meaning and healing in rural Ireland.

Struggling to cope with urban life-and life in general-Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to her family's rural house on "turbine hill," vacant since her grandmother's death three years earlier. It is
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published February 23rd 2017)
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Elyse  Walters
Update ... great deal: This is a Kindle special today for $2.99

Charles Bukowski once said.....
"Being alone never felt right. Sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right."

In "A Line Made by Walking", 25 year old Frankie, an artist, spends a lot of time being alone. Seeking relief from inner pain she associates with city life in Dublin.....her art, job, friends, and a general sense of her failed self, she retreats to her deceased grandmother's Bungalow. Frankie has lost her sense of 'self', a
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Intensely personal and hauntingly memorable, this is a strong contender for the Goldsmiths Prize and one of the best books I have read so far this year.

This is not a plot-driven novel - it is more of an extended meditation and an exploration of the fragile psyche of Frankie, a lonely former art student in her mid-twenties suffering an existential crisis that causes her to flee her Dublin bedsit, initially to return to the "famine hospital" (her parents' house). Frankie persuades her parents to a
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”The world is wrong. It took me twenty-five years to realize and now I don’t think I can bear it any more.

Frankie recites the works of artists, a compulsion that seems to calm her, checking to make sure she remembers an artist, a work that correspond to her thoughts at that moment. Cleaning her bedsit, her thoughts take her to “Works about Bed, I thought of another one: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled,1991. In 1992, the same gigantic image appeared on twenty-four different billboards around the
Peter Boyle
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story for anyone who is lost. It's for anybody whose dreams of brilliance have been dashed, about coming to terms with being average. It's not a self-help manual and it offers no easy answers, but it might help someone in a similar situation feel less alone.

Things are not going well for poor Frankie. A 25-year-old art student living in a poky Dublin bedsit, she finds herself lying on the musty carpet, crying her eyes out. Abandoning her course and part-time gallery job, she is whisked
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who find beauty in the ordinary, hope in the sadness, and life in death
When I read Sara Baume's first novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, last year I was mesmerised by it.
Completely taken in by the beauty of the story and it became one of my favourite books of the year.

This spring has brought the release of her second novel, 'A Line Made by Walking'. And I am yet again utterly mesmerised by its haunting beauty. The honesty of the story. The lyrical quality of the prose.

I am less fearful of being alone than I am of not being able to be alone

It's a very quiet re
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just finished Sara Baume’s incredible A Line Made By Walking. A novel that tells of a woman’s delayed reaction/resistance to adulthood and the time when everything changes after the death of her grandmother, with art, death and nature guiding her way sometimes obviously sometimes subconsciously. Quirky. Brilliant. I am pretty sure will be one of my books of the year.
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It can’t be easy to write a 300+ page book that almost totally eschews plot in favor of a contemplative and despairing narrator who lives a near solitary life, obsessed with just about every part of it. In fact, it would seem like a recipe for disaster.

And yet. And yet. Sara Baume pulls it off, creating a masterwork that focuses on the very essence of life and weaves the reader into the world of her 25 year old artist narrator, Frankie. At the same time, she enlightens the reader on some of rece
Paul Fulcher
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, goldsmiths-2017
My parents did not want me to come here to stay. They are, like everybody, fearful of being completely alone and suspicious of people who choose to be. They hesitate, like everybody, to understand how it could heal me, as I believe it can. I believe: I am less fearful of being alone than I am of not being able to be alone.

UPDATE: Now deservedly this novel has been shortlisted for the 2017 Goldsmiths Prize.

Tramp Press is a small independent press from Ireland, whose “aim is to find, nurture and
Canadian Reader
"The world is wrong. It took me twenty-five years to realize and now I don't think I can bear it anymore. The world is wrong, and I am too small to fix it, too self-absorbed."

In her second novel, Baume explores the plight of twenty-five-year-old Frankie, an art-school graduate, who retreats to her grandmother's house in the country to heal after she begins to crack up in the city. Before the dangerous psychological descent that spurs her to break her bedsit lease and summon her mother to collect
Roger Brunyate
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Art Therapy

Works about Birds, again, I test myself: Wheatfield with Crows, 1890. Popularly believed to be the last painting Vincent van Gogh completed. An angry, churning sky, tall yellow stalks, a grass-green and mud-brown path cutting through the stalks, tapering into the distance; a line made by walking. And a murder of crows between the stalks and sky as though they are departing or arriving or have just been disturbed.
"Departing or arriving or just disturbed." The first-person protagoni
switterbug (Betsey)
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The title of Baume’s second elegiac and exquisite novel is also the title of a photograph by photographer Richard Long, where he walked backwards and forwards in a Wiltshire field until the turf caught the sunlight and became visible as a line. What does it mean? Like Baume’s unusual novel, it demonstrates the ideas of impermanence, motion, and relativity. Throughout this novel, the protagonist, twenty-six year-old Frankie (a woman), an unsuccessful artist suffering from depression and inability ...more
Britta Böhler
Quiet, yet unsettling account of a young woman struggeling with her depression and with the question what it means to be alive.
Eric Anderson
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What place does art hold in our day to day lives? That's one of the questions at the centre of Sara Baume's second novel. Frankie is a twenty-five year old woman who has left her rented apartment in Dublin after studying art and working in a gallery. Finding it impossible to integrate into a working and social life as her uni friends have and concluding that “The world is wrong, and I am too small to fix it, too self-absorbed”, she retreats to her late grandmother's rural bungalow. She endeavour ...more
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

i fucking loved this
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
We need to talk about how good this book is. I don’t know what’s going on over there but young Irish writers are blowing my mind.
Thomas Harte
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Possibly my favourite author at the moment. I love the way she describes the Irish countryside, the way she weaves her story around animals and art, or art and sadness as she says at the very end. Good literature does not emerge from contentment and there is a dark side to this book and indeed her amazing first book. The dark side of Ireland. Nevertheless Sara Baume an exciting talent and this is an extraordinary novel.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded up. To my mind, this is the perfect Goldsmiths Prize nominee, since it very much stretches the boundaries of what a novel can be. It took me a while to get into it, and it initially drove me crazy that I had to keep rushing to the computer to check out the 76 examples of conceptual and/or performance art referenced throughout (this is ONE time when I wish I had read the Kindle version, so I could have quickly found such citations. If you do decide to take the plunge, I would strongl ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A young woman labeled as having a happiness deficiency. Perhaps it was too great a responsibility to hold in all those secrets and then to convey them as if they were meant to be written to the world. She sorts through what she thinks is expected of her all the while trembling inside. She risks ridicule and her reputation as she searches for answers that hang like smoke in the air around her. Sometimes all she can do is weep, for the worries and pains of her own and of the world. All those night ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 2017-goldsmiths
The film is almost over when Herzog conducts an interview with an ornithologist alongside footage of a colony migrating towards their feeding grounds. The camera zooms in on a single penguin that has broken away from the group and set off in the opposite direction, towards the mountains. The ornithologist explains how it often happens that there is one member of the colony who becomes deranged. How, even if he fetched the misdirected penguin back, reunited it with its fellows and pointed it the ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, irishfic
I go in the back door to the kitchen. Open a cupboard, click. Take out a tin of tuna chunks and close the cupboard, thunk. Pull the ring on the can, click, again; a smaller, sharper click. Open the cutlery drawer, jangle, and select a fork, clink. Pick an ant off my sleeve and flick it down the sink. I breathe. I breathe. I breathe.

And all of this time, I am trembling.

A Line Made by Walking is apparently semi-autobiographical – like the main character, Frankie, author Sara Baume attended art
Jonathan Pool
This was my final read of the six Goldsmiths nominated books for 2017. "Books that break the literary mould".
First person, narrator led, books are often introspective, and strangely maudlin, tales of lives less well lived. Sara Baume's is the story of Frankie, a young woman exhibiting classical signs of depression. Her mother comments
You're depressed.. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's basically a happiness deficiency(108).

The stark inevitability of a person's decline into reclusiveness, of mo
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Now shortlisted for the Goldsmith Prize.

Works about Lower, Slower Views. I test myself: Richard Long “A Line Made by Walking”, 1967. A short, straight track worn by footsteps back and forth through an expense of glass. Long doesn’t like to interfere with the landscapes through which he walks, but sometimes builds sculptures from materials supplied by chance. Then he leaves them behind to fall apart. Pieces which takes up as little space in the world as possible. And which do little damage.

Kasa Cotugno
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A year ago, Sara Baume knocked me off my feet with her debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither. It was such an original idea so beautifully and unconventionally told. In June, I was privileged to see her participation in a panel of Irish writers which also included Colum McCann, so it is no surprise that he expresses his admiration for this, her second novel, equally mesmerizing and original.

Frankie, an artist working in a Dublin gallery, upon finding herself in the throes of a breakdown, gets
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An age old question is whether art reflects life. With Sara Baume’s second novel, A Line Made by Walking, art not only reflects life but is wedged into it.

The book’s title is inspired by a piece of art of the same name, created by Richard Long, which consists of a lawn with a line in the middle created by Long’s constant treading of the specific area.

The significance of this line is to ruin the tranquility of nature and to prove that a work of art can be a journey. Considering the themes of Baum
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sara Baume is my favorite living author. There, I said it. Always such elegant descriptions and poetic writing. A Line Made by Walking is a quiet and deeply affecting novel.
Katia N
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
More like 3.5

It is Sara Baume’s second novel and the first I’ve read. It is written from the point of view of a young woman, Frankie, who is experiencing a psychologic breakdown and retreats to the countryside boogaloo belonging to her deceased grandma. There she stays through the summer and takes pictures of dead animals, potentially, for her art project.

I enjoyed the brisk and energetic prose and the confessional style. The problems of this girl reminded me how it is to be 25 years old, when
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Frankie is a fine art graduate struggling with anxiety and life away from home. She feels such a failure that she 'can’t even do mental illness properly'. It is all 'because of nothing… because there’s nothing right with me. Because I cannot fucking help it.' Diagnosed with depression, she refuses medication, retreating instead to her dead grandmother’s bungalow in the Irish countryside, which is awaiting sale. There she hopes to come to terms with the complexities of adult life and her perceive ...more
After reading by GR friend Hugh's review of this book, I decided I needed to read it. Luckily, for me, it was a Kindle special that day and I was able to get it for $2.99. I had hoped to finish it in October, so as to turn my attention in November to non-fiction (for as long as I can last!), but I did not quite make it, finishing the book this afternoon. I understand that the Goldsmiths prize, for which this book is a nominee in 2017, is for experimental fiction. I do not know what the official ...more
Jim Elkins
Jan 24, 2018 added it
Shelves: irish
The interesting potential of formulas inserted in fiction

I read this alongside three other young Irish authors in fall 2017: Eimear McBride, Mike McCormack, and the (English woman living in Ireland) Claire-Louise Bennett. They're quite different, except that McCormack and McBride are -- very promisingly! -- reviving the modernist crafted, agrammatical sentence.

Baume's book raises different issues. Critics didn't like the fact that every couple of pages the narrator inserts a paragraph that begin
Mary Lins
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: complete
This is a VERY unique novel, in both story and structure, and to get the most out of what Sara Baume is trying to accomplish, you’ll need to commit some time and internet researching skills. It’s worth it.

In "A Line Made by Walking", by Sara Baume, we meet first-person narrator, Frankie. Frankie is a 25 year old artist who is, by her own admission, not mentally stable. After the death of her beloved grandmother, she returns home to live in her grandmother's old house; a rickety bungalow on a hil
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Sara Baume is an Irish novelist.
Her father is of English descent while her mother is of Irish descent. As her parents travelled around in a caravan, Sara Baume was born "on the road to Wigan Pier". When she was 4, they moved to County Cork, Ireland. She studied fine art at Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design and creative writing at Trinity College, Dublin from where she was awarded her MPhil.

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