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The Bass Rock

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  54 reviews
The lives of three women weave together across four centuries in the dazzling new book from Evie Wyld, winner of the Miles Franklin Award.

Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has for centuries watched over the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries the fates of three women are linked: to this place, to each other.

In the early
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Penguin Random House Australia
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
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Kylie D
The Bass Rock is an account of the lives of three women, separated by time, whose lives revolve around a small town in Scotland. The three timelines are woven around them, detailing their lives, but I found that they jumped about a bit too much and was sometimes confused as to where I was up to. The consequence of this was that I didn't feel a connection with any of the women, and I didn't receive a great deal of satisfaction from it. It's not a bad book by any means, just not my cup of tea.

Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is such stillness in that small wood where my grandmother died that it catches my breath, I feel I am looking up into space or into a deep high-ceilinged crevasse. Hello! I call, just to hear if my voice echoes back. It does, three times.

The Bass Rock is the third novel by award-winning British-Australian author, Evie Wyld. In post-war Britain, newly-married Ruth Hamilton finds herself in an oversized house in a village in North Berwick, Scotland. She tries, when they are home from
This novel reads at times like The Girl on the Train meets Rebecca.

Review to follow.
Gloria Arthur
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

With elements of darkness, violence & madness, this is a disturbing and captivating tale. Its a story of the lives of three different women, across centuries and set against the backdrop of the haunting Bass Rock.

Ruth is newly married and has moved to a large house near the sea in a village at North Berwick, Scotland to take care of her husbands two sons. Her husband is frequently absent and she feels like a replacement wife as he was recently left a widow. Ruth
Kali Napier
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww2020
In many ways this book should not have ticked all the five-star boxes for me -- it is a multi-period novel where I was much less invested in one strand, eager to get back to the other two.
Yet every page belongs.
Even the pages that weren't part of Stories I, II, II. They were almost more powerful in their non-identification, their ghostly vagueness. They are stories embedded in the places the characters in Stories I, II, III tread. Where we all tread. The reason I give this 5-stars is because
Michael Livingston
A powerfully bleak book about men's violence against women. Wyld flits across three time frames, with strong links between the most recent two - it took me a while to join all the dots, but everything clicked in the end. It's a really grim book - there's barely a hint of hope or happiness amidst a steady stream of male brutality that ripples across generations.
Jennifer (JC-S)
In the memory, which is a childs memory and unreliable, the eye blinks.

This novel is set in North Berwick, a small town on Scotlands Firth of Forth, south-west of the Bass Rock. This is a coast with history, with both beauty and violence. A perfect setting for Ms Wylds novel.

The novel opens with a small girl finding the body of a woman in a suitcase on the beach. Her mother tells her to come away, but the girl has already seen inside the suitcase. The girl we meet as a woman, Viv, will tell one
Claire Fuller
Wonderfully subtle and magnificently savage. The Bass Rock follows the stories of three woman on the North Berwick coast: Sarah who in the eighteenth century has been pronounced a witch and is running away; Ruth, grieving for her brother dead in the war, and struggling to make a new life for herself, with a new husband, step sons, and the presence of a ghostly girl in her house; and Viviane, who in the present day has come to the house to clear it of her dead grandmother's belongings. The novel ...more
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might be the new Ghost Wall?! I know. I KNOW.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. Thank you Better Reading for my Advance Proof.
Evie Wyld has created a sweep of vivid flawed women struggling to battle through the disappointment of disrespectful and violent relationships. Despite living hundreds of years apart they all become victims, under different circumstances, of men. This is a reminder that physical violence and psychological abuse continue to happen and this book explores the many ways it is perpetrated on women.
The use of bass rock as a connector for the
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is mesmerising - the way it weaves through time is masterful, each character rich and recognisable from the first. I felt protective of them, and I felt angry for them as they navigated a world designed without their humanity in mind. The simmering female rage that underlies is timely and timeless; I can't recommend The Bass Rock highly enough, and it's one of my favourite reads of this year.
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
Evie Wylds new novel, The Bass Rock, stretches across centuries to examine the various forms of violence visited upon women by men. There are three protagonists: Sarah, in the 1700s, accused of being a witch and forced to flee into the woods; Ruth, navigating a new home, a new husband, and a new family in the wake of WWII; and Viv, in the present day, forced to reckon with the weight of inter-generational trauma and dysfunction. In their shared setting, the west coast of Scotland, their ...more
Pam Tickner
2 1/2 stars. Very vivid and detailed story telling that creates a disturbing picture of the lives of not only the three main women, hundreds of years apart, but of those close to them. I found the change in time lines confusing and lost track of who was in each time period as the stories blended to create a thread. I preferred the minor characters, Betty and Maggie, to any of the others, and overall felt underwhelmed and not clear about who had been murdered and the purpose of the bass rock. ...more
The Bass Rock covers 3 different timelines, 3 different women and how their lives are affected by the Men in their lives through control and/or violence. I found Ruth's story the saddest and the things they would do to women if they were emotional or considered not stable was terrible. I did struggle to follow the switching between timelines and felt that this could have been improved with headings on the chapters.
Thank you to Better Reading for the opportunity to review.
Samantha Bones
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book having first heard the author interviewed on Radio Nationals The Book Show:
This podcast provided some interesting context to the story and made the experience of reading it even more dark and disturbing. I mean this in a positive way as Im sure its the authors intent to disturb the reader and change the way they view the world. That was the case for me.
The overlapping storylines of women and children who are controlled, discounted and
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark story about three interlinked women from different eras and their place within societies dominated by men and the violence, ownership and control they wreak upon others.

Interspersed with the three main storylines are short vignettes further hammering home the destruction men can cause.

For me the three storylines didnt quite come together at the end but Wylds writing is so beautiful and two of the three main women felt so real and fleshed out that I was really carried along with their
Dominique Wilson
Dec 04, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A disappointing book. There is no doubt that Wyld can write beautiful descriptive sentences. However, whilst I normally enjoy stories that fluctuate between different timelines or different points of view, I found the constant back and forth between the timelines of this novel at first confusing, then tedious and irritating. As a result, I did not connect with any of the characters except Betty, and could not remember from one day to the next what I had read previously. A self-consciously clever ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel tells three stories, all linked by the location of Musselbrough in Scotland, and the bass rock, an island just off the coast there; and also by the prevalence of sexual and physical violence perpetuated by men towards women and children. Sarah, in the 1700s is accused of being a witch by her local community and goes on the run with some of them; Ruth in the 1950s has entered a wealthy new marriage and has taken on two new stepsons, but is often left alone by her new husband; and Viv, ...more
Edyta Wiatr
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An evocative and desolately haunting story centred on the lives of three different women across centuries connected by lineage as well as grief, loss and violence. Set against the unforgiving beauty of Bass Rock, the book is beautifully crafted to add elements of mystery and superb tension as a vehicle for a story of women trying to survive in a world seemingly designed to destroy them. A truly wonderful book by one of the best emerging Australian authors, Evie Wyld.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three women, three different time periods but their lives are still connected.

1700s A young girl Sarah is accused of being a witch and is taken in by a priest and his son who are trying to save her.

1950s Ruth a step mother and replacement wife to Peter is living in a large house overlooking the Bass Rock. The children are at boarding school and her new husband is often away so she is left to herself with the ghosts of the old house.

2000s Vivienne is sorting and cataloguing the remains of her
Terry Maxwell
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld is amazing, powerful, thought provoking. I couldnt put it down.

A wonderful story spread over three timelines is brilliant. Im loving books that are doing this lately & is something that has gotten me back into reading.

Being a father of two daughters Ill definitely be getting them to read this when they are older.

It does make you stop & think about how you treat women in your life. Going from the 1700-1950-2000 it shows how we want change but still dont have
Beth Stackhouse
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this kind of book historical fiction. Great characters and lovely outdoor setting. Loved the story was well written and will read it again.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

She did not much like the rock; Fidra and Craigleith she saw as charming additions punctuation in the grey North Sea, but something about Bass Rock was so misshapen.

The release of Miles Franklin award winning author Evie Wylds latest novel has been described by her publisher Penguin Books Australia as a major publishing event. This statement definitely caught my eye. The Bass Rock is an intricate tapestry of three powerful stories, all defined by the
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

'She sat back and looked out the window. The Bass Rock was completely obscured by mist, and large raindrops clung to the window. She ought to be happy. She ought to be.'

This book is set around the changing colour yet permanent presence of the volcanic monolith, 'Bass Rock' that sits 2km off the shore of east Scotland. It is a narrative that follows three female characters, with shifting timelines. The chapters are numbered in Roman numerals to represent the character we are following.
I wanted to enjoy this more than I did and was torn between giving it two or three stars. Ive put it as three for now because its not like it was completely terrible, but Im not sure it was good either. Maybe 2 1/2 stars? The Bass Rock tells the stories of three women and their connection to North Berwick. Living not far from North Berwick, I loved reading a novel set there and liked the authors prose about the area. But the three stories were not equally developed. I really only cared about one ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
The merit of Wyld's latest novel lies in its writing. For that reason alone, I couldn't see clear to downgrading it to only 2 stars. However, I found the several different narratives, set in different generations (one in a past century), utterly confusing. The storylines, and their included characters, jumped back and forth in the space of only a few pages; thus, just when I was getting adjusted to the introduction of the new characters, focus, and trying to figure out what their relationship ...more
Angela Elizabeth
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Evie Wyld, winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 2014, is one of modern literatures most talented writers of Gothic-infused literary fiction, dressing up very real horrors in the tropes and poetic language of the macabre to stunning effect. In The Bass Rock, her third novel, Wyld shows a singular talent for plumbing the same themes and tropes without ever seeming to repeat herself. Once again, we find ourselves transported back and forth in time as Wyld shifts perspectives between narrators. ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Samantha Teichtahl
I bought this book as part of a special in a local bookstore called blind date with a book. I loved the idea and didnt read the blurb on the back of the book to give it a chance.

The book is well written but going back and forth between all the stories and having to find out whos who although being thrilling at first gets a bit tiring. I am overall disappointed because not all stories seem to tie back together or maybe they are but in such subtle way that I didnt get it, which is also possible.
Danielle Burns
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aww
This novel is a well-timed fictional commentary on society's treatment of women. But it's also so much more. It's a beguiling, twisting, emotional saga set in different times and places that had me hooked from the beginning and still thinking over the fates of the many characters, even those only briefly glimpsed, long after the last page was turned. Once again, Evie Wyld has proved herself as a master storyteller and I feel sure she will achieve further literary success with this her third ...more
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