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The Offing

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,756 ratings  ·  412 reviews
After all, there are only a few things truly worth fighting for: freedom, of course, and all that it brings with it. Poetry, perhaps, and a good glass of wine. A nice meal. Nature. Love, if you're lucky.

One summer following the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham village. Sixteen and the son of a coal miner, he makes his way across the nort
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 5th 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published August 22nd 2019)
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Ken Wales Bit late in the day answering this. i know this stretch of the coast rather well. There are several spots where in high summer the sun does indeed ris…moreBit late in the day answering this. i know this stretch of the coast rather well. There are several spots where in high summer the sun does indeed rise over the sea and also set below it. this is because some landmarks actually face north or north north east. Whitby is a good example and if you visit there you can buy postcards illustrating the phenomenon. One day i will get up early enough when over there to capture a photo myself. Whether this fits the narrative, I have not checked. but it is a magnificent book.(less)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  2,756 ratings  ·  412 reviews

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Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book.

I must confess I adore books which eulogise a lost, perfect Summer.

'The Offing' contained echoes of 'A Month in the Country' by J.L. Carr, and 'The Go-Between' by L.P. Hartley, which, as you probably already know, is a very good portent.

This particular Summer is shortly after the end of World War Two, and Robert Appleyard leaves his mining village to explore the world before following his father down the coalmine. When he arrives at Robin Hood's Bay in North Yorkshire he meet
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: myers
This is one of those novels that evokes a time and has someone looking back to that time. It bears comparison to Carr’s A Month in the Country and The Go-Between by Hartley. It is set just after the Second World War. Sixteen year old Robert Appleyard lives in a mining village in the north east England, near Durham. He decides to set off on foot to walk and have adventures and explore the coast before settling to work. He works for board and lodging on farms and smallholdings; places where the me ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2020
For such a prolific writer, Myers sets very high standards. His last novel before this one was the wonderful The Gallows Pole, and between them he also published a beautiful non-fiction book about his adopted home in the Calder Valley, Under the Rock: The Poetry of a Place. So this one had a lot to live up to, and for the most part it succeeds in meeting these very high expectations.

Like The Gallows Pole this one has a historical setting, but a more recent one, in the aftermath of the Second Wor
Eric Anderson
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With our current political preoccupations concerning citizenship, immigration and nationality there’s a lot of talk about borders. (What borders will be formed between the UK and Europe?) But in Benjamin Myers’ recent novel “The Offing” the borders directly referenced are invisible lines in the natural environment. The title refers to “That distant stretch of sea where sky and water merge. It’s called the offing.” These are borders that we only imagine exist because of our subjective point of vi ...more
Anna Luce
★★★★✰ 4 stars

“That distant stretch of sea where sky and water merge. It’s called the offing.”

Written in a verdant prose Benjamin Myers’ novel is an ode to nature. The Offing is narrated by the son of a miner from Durham, Robert Appleyard, who, in his old age, finds himself looking back to the summer which shaped the rest of his life. In the aftermath of the Second World War a sixteen year old Robert is restless for change.
Afflicted by a restless desire to lose himself and both to leave behind t
Jackie Law
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Offing, by Benjamin Myers, is written in prose that is as mesmerising as poetry. The author conjures up a potent sense of place, rendering the beauty and power of nature alongside man’s small place in it. The tale is humbling but also uplifting. This is writing to be savoured.

The story is narrated by Robert Appleyard, son of a miner working the pits around Durham. Now facing old age, Robert is looking back on a pivotal summer when he was sixteen and hungry for freedom. Growing up he understo
Tom Mooney
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exquisite. Myers is without doubt one of the greatest British writers at work today. This new novel is as close to perfect as you'll find.

An ode to many things, among them poetry, the sea, the north, Britain, British literary history, Europe, and a life lived with open arms and an open heart.

In Dulcie he has created a character who embodies the complicated weave of Britain and its people. She is stubborn yet free, southern yet embodied by northern-ness, rich and yet humble.

It really is the most
Emily M
May 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted very much to enjoy this book, to really sink into it. It seemed like a good moment to read a heartwarming tale of a golden summer and life lessons learned between an older woman and a teenage boy. I have been craving depictions of the natural world, and I spent most of my childhood holidays just a few miles from where this book it set. I’ve heard great things about the writer, and I appreciated that it was a northern writer.

I was very disappointed once I started to read however. It star
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
An unrelentingly beautiful book, so gently glorious and gloriously gentle. I could not have predicted it from Ben Myers’ in a million years, but here it is: A Month in the Country remade, and John Clare resurrected. The golden summer song that balances against Myers’ usually brutal winter tunes. I read the last section aloud to myself in bed on Christmas Eve and cried softly for joy.

Very possibly my book of the year.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
The initial section - with a young boy wandering the English countryside — made me instantly compare this book to the Tim Pears West Country trilogy (specifically the middle book, The Wanderers), that I recently read. Unfortunately, I found myself longing for the spare, concise, show-don’t-tell writing style of Tim Pears, instead of the flowery nonsense here.

p. 6 “I thought about how the sea served to remind of the finite existence of solid matter, and that the only true boundaries are not tren
With the Second World War only recently ended and nothing awaiting him apart from the coal mine where his father works, sixteen-year-old Robert Appleyard sets out on a journey. From his home in County Durham, he walks southeast, doing odd jobs along the way in exchange for food and lodgings. One day he wanders down a lane near Robin Hood’s Bay and gets a surprisingly warm welcome from a cottage owner, middle-aged Dulcie Piper, who invites him in for tea and elicits his story. Almost accidentally ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-recent-ones
I really enjoyed this - it was a deeply satisfying read. The writing was exceptional, very rich and with words in I had to look up - rare these days. Both Robert and Dulcie were great characters and their relationship was extremely well worked. It captured an atmosphere of England in 1945 well I thought with Dulcie a great counterpoint to that.

I laughed and shed a tear while I was reading this! I'll certainly explore more of Myers work when I can.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Page 7 was as far as I could get. The writing made me want to retch. Laden with nouns laden with adjectives laden with adverbs. The gagworthiest prose I’ve read in a long long while.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reviews
What a joy and balm for the soul Benjamin Myers’ new novel, The Offing, turned out to be! It tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a teenage boy and an elderly woman in Yorkshire following the Second World War, and I’d be really surprised if it didn’t make my top 10 at the end of the year.

The two main characters are Robert, the 16-year-old son of a coal miner, and Dulcie, an eccentric well-to-do woman who lives alone in a cosy cottage by the sea.

The pair meet by accident when Robert
Gaby Meares
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed The Offing from the library and regretfully returned it. I immediately hot-footed it to my local bookshop and purchased my very own copy. This is a book to own and cherish and make personal margin notes to self to be rediscovered. Because The Offing is a book you will return to, especially when your soul needs the application of a gentle balm.
There's a plot, but that's not what this book is all about. It's a homage to nature and the seasons and being immersed in the here and now, wit
Jaclyn Crupi
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This came highly recommended from a couple of bookshop legends – @fionastager and @mybookshopbycp – so it rocketed to the top of the pile. Initially I was worried it had that British twee tone we see with writers like John Boyne that I find so off-putting but then I fell for the characters of Robert and Dulcie and well the rest is history. This is nature writing disguised as fiction and it’s delightful. This book is perfect for fans of A Month in the Country and One Fine Day.
Stagger Lee
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2019x
Myers' best so far and the best book I've read this year.

The Offing could have easily slipped into something mawkish or sentimental in somebody else's hands but Myers gets it just right. So yeh, I was in bits by the end, but the emotion was earned rather than forced.

One of those books that makes you want to be more alive, to taste the apples and watch the bees and set off walking who knows where.

But it's cold out...
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a beautiful, life-affirming book – a novel imbued with great warmth, a generosity of spirit and a strong sense of place.

The Offing is set in the English countryside in the summer of 1946, the year following the end of the Second World War. Although the conflict is over, the emotional scars remain, festering in the hearts and minds of the men following their return from battle, their shattering experiences too recent to suppress.

With little to look forward to other than a lifetime of
Rob Twinem
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A coming of age story beautifully told. It is a time of hope just after the 2nd World War and Robert Appleyard goes for a walk in the beautiful Durham countryside. He encounters Dulcie Piper; a recluse, who lives off the land and she welcomes 16 year old Robert into her home. She recognizes in him a young man on the cusp of adulthood and through her guidance and tuition she attempts to instil in him some decent values. It is the lyrical writing of the author Benjamin Myers that makes this story ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
christ, my heart


"Let's pretend that tomorrow may never appear."

"It did yesterday."

"Oh, very good. Then let's ditch the diary, burn the calendar, smash the clocks and instead pretend that today is infinite and punctuated only by the darkening of the sky and the hooting of the owl."
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even though it’s only mid-April, I know that The Offing is one of the best books I will read this year. A beautiful tribute to nature and the friendship of a lifetime.
Margaret Williams
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting how often the writing that appears to be the simplest, is often the most complex. This is a simple story on the face of it, but the descriptions of the countryside and the characters within are anything but. Such a beautiful, peaceful book. I kept seeing Vanessa Redgrave in Dulcie all the way through. Bring on the movie!
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2019
It is not long after the end of the Second World War and the country is still in the grip of post-war blues and rationing. Robert Appleyard has just turned sixteen and faces heading down the local pit as did his father and grandfather before him. It is not something that he fancies so he decides to head away from his home town of Durham and discover a little bit more of the world.

Slowly making his way across the northern landscape, walks the road and trackways doing days of work at smallholding
Colin Bardsley
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great way to start my 2021 reading challenge. The Offing is a stunning novel. I've read a lot of literary fiction where nothing much happens. Where plot and characters are secondary to stylised writing. Where it feels like an author has accepted a challenge to churn out 300 pages about a concept that could be summed up in one sentence. I've wondered how on earth these sort of books get published and who on earth could possibly enjoy them. Then they scoop up all the literary prizes and I'm left ...more
Claire O'Sullivan
After having great difficulty reading and concentrating, flitting between many reads I came across this . A postcard from Loch Broom signed by the author fell from the fly leaf. A sign. I love this area and would usually be planning and packing for a trip here in May. So, this Easter, in the midst of the Covid 19 Pandemic I settled down exhausted on my day off and I began to read this beautiful, beautiful book. I absolutely loved it and feel at peace for the first time in weeks. It took me longe ...more
Marni Switzer
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply said, The Offing is a really beautiful read.
Viv JM
The Offing was just the tonic I apparently needed. A charming tale of intergenerational friendship that is touching but not cloying or sentimental. As with the other book I have read from Benjamin Myers (The Gallows Pole), the sense of place/geography is really well done - he does have a magical knack of transporting you to the setting that is beyond compare. A lovely book!
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A holiday in a book. Perfect reading when sitting outside, dreaming yourself away.
S Ashok
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is still a mystery to me why we pick some books and start reading them. My interest in world literature is mostly Russian, I have read Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky among others. I don’t read so much of contemporary literature, I stumbled upon this novel The offing by British writer Benjamin Myers. The offing refers to the imaginary line that separates the see and sky. This novel is that imaginary line in which the central character Robert’s life changes after his meeting with an unlikely of person ca ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came across this beauty of a book while browsing the Walter Scott Prize Longlist for Historical Fiction. It stood out to me because it’s set in Yorkshire’s Robin Hood’s Bay, one of my favourite places to visit for a bit of beachcombing. Set over the summer in the aftermath of WW2, The Offing follows 16-year-old Robert Appleyard as he leaves behind his northern colliery village for adventure of the unknown. On reaching the east-coast he meets Dulcie Piper, an eccentric, worldly, older woman who ...more
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Cooking the Books...: Who would play Dulcie in the film of The Offing? 1 8 Apr 23, 2020 08:34AM  

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Benjamin Myers was born in Durham, UK, in 1976.

He is an award-winning author and journalist.

His first short story collection, Male Tears, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021.

His novel The Offing was published by Bloomsbury in 2019 and is a best-seller in Germany. It was serialised by Radio 4's Book At Bedtime and Radio 2 Book club choice. It is being developed for stage and has been optioned f

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“At times like this, or when hoeing soil or sanding wood, or just sitting on a bench with my face turned to the sun, I appeared to slip out of the moment so entirely - or, conversely, perhaps was so deeply immersed in the here and now - that I forgot who I was. The slate of self was wiped.” 0 likes
“I took another swig and felt the wine in my veins as a pleasant ache” 0 likes
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