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The Offing

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  341 ratings  ·  72 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 22nd 2019 by Bloomsbury Circus
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Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  341 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book.

I must confess I adore books which eulogise a lost, perfect Summer. For me, '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
Eric Anderson
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jackie Law
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Tom Mooney
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pieces of work like this keep me going.

Sometimes I feel dull. As though I am inside a cloud. I fumble around, forcefully trying to remind myself of good things, and times when I felt lively.

I wish I could reach into every moment like that and hand myself something to read.

Even on the first page of The Offing, I felt comforted and welcomed. As though my mind was an old house being spring cleaned after the sunlight revealed the dust.

The prose is vibrant and sensual. Every sentence feels
Rob Twinem
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Stagger Lee
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019x, fiction
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...
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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
Andy Weston
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Offing demonstrates Myers’s versatility as one of our most exciting writing talents; whereas his previous novel, The Gallows Pole was a brutal tale of murder on the windswept moors this is much more subtle, and often quite moving. In common in Myers’s work is the landscape of northern England and its nature.

Just after the Second World War, 16 year old Robert Appleyard delays his future down the Durham coal pits to ‘see the world’, or at least as far south as Scarborough and Whitby.
S Ashok
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Rosemary Leggett
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simply beautiful. May become my go-to gift book of this year. Loved it.
Kris McCracken
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely tale, well told. There's a wonderful sense of time and place, and a gentle tone given the huge societal shifts driving the action.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was caught up in this story from the first words “Where did life go? Every day I find myself asking this one same question of the mirror, yet the answer always eludes me. All I see is a stranger staring back.” Many ‘more mature’ types (ok then, old fogies) would recognise this feeling!

Our protagonist, Robert Appleyard, begins to reflect back on the year when he was sixteen, just after WW2. He was too young to have been involved himself but he saw men and women returning home, some damaged in
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Tender and moving. Sentimental but far from trite. A book about love, about belonging, about place and time and us. Lyrical and beautiful.
I adored this. Easily the finest novel I have read this year.
Charlotte Hutchinson
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A move away from his previous stuff, gentler, but still evoking the northern landscape like no one else can.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Robert, the sixteen year old son of a Durham coal miner, on the cusp of adulthood, as he foot-slogs slowly southwards just after the Second World War. His simple hand-to-mouth existence changes when he meets Dulcie, who's older, eccentric, from a very different world, and who opens her home to him. This story, which starts so simply yet poetically, continues as a slow burn, but one which ends with both characters' lives being changed irrevocably. Here you will find an ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sublime book. Beautiful prose with two instantly credible characters who you cannot help but warm to (and a special mention for Butler the German Shepherd). The story took a little to get going but overall I would thoroughly recommend ... it felt to me like a mix of Lissa Evan’s Old Baggage and David Nicholls Sweet Sorrow.

With thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for a copy in consideration of an honest review.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. Ben Myers writes beautifully and always with passion for nature, relationships and life. Do read it!
Ross Jeffery
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Benjamin Myers is the author of a great many titles of which includes the hugely successful ‘The Gallows Pole‘ which was originally published by Bluemoose Books – many awards, plaudits and fans of his fiction shortly followed, cementing him as a new and exciting voice in fiction. It was only a matter of time before the big boys came knocking and realised the talent Myers wields, and his services, including his back catalogue were soon purchased by Bloomsbury – ‘The Offing‘ is his latest slice of ...more
Jeff Kaye
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had been mightily impressed by The Gallows Pole, Ben Myers previous work, and came to The Offing expecting more of the same. In some ways, it was; in some critical ways it was not. The former related to his extraordinary ability to tell a story, delineate characters that live and breath, to artistically arrange words that can be read with immense ease yet together form their own beauty on the page and in one's head. The latter related to the story itself. Rather than the harshness of the ...more
From BBC radio 4 Extra:
One summer following the Second World War, 16 year old Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham mining village, desperate to see something of the world before he goes down the pit. Acutely attuned to the rhythms and delights of the natural world, he sleeps rough and takes work where he can find it, until he meets Dulcie Piper, an eccentric older woman who lives in a ramshackle cottage looking out to sea.

Dulcie is everything Robert is not: wordly, cynical,
Jodie (jodie.loves.books)
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
I have never read a book that resonated with me as much as this beautiful piece of literature. I feel so lucky and blessed to have been able to read this story and I truly feel like a better person for having done so.

The Offing follows Robert in 1946, a 16 year old from the North East who has just left school and wants to explore the country before starting work at the local coal mine. He is a lost soul and on his travels throughout the North East, he meets Dulcie - the most exquisite and
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Set shortly after the Second World War, this is a story about a 16 year old chap, Robert, who leaves his mining town home for the summer to go on a wander, delaying for a little while the inevitability of having to take up work in the coal mines of North East England. After labouring here and there for a day or two at a time Robert nears a village on the North Sea coast and comes across a slightly rundown cottage that faces the sea and is owned by a
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Robin Hood's Bay on the North Yorkshire coast is one of the most beautiful places in God's Own Country, a village filled with steeply winding streets and ginnels, set in a perfect, wide sweeping bay and approached along a rugged cliff top or down off the North York Moors through the villages of Hawsker and High Normanby. In Benjamin Myers' latest novel, The Offing, it is the setting for a story of self-discovery and self-fulfilment. In 1946 sixteen year old Robert Appleyard leaves his Durham ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We got this as an ARC. It is now, without doubt, my favourite book of all time. From the descriptions to the characters, I just loved every second and I want to reread it... that doesn’t happen often!
Louella Ramsden
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, poetic, inspirational.
Maureen Marsh
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think this would be my favourite book I have read this year. A great coming of age story filled with nature's imagery. A book to taste, see and hear the wonder of nature. Will read it again and share it with friends and family.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A gentle read with typically mesmeric descriptions of the natural world.
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Benjamin Myers was born in Durham, UK, in 1976.

He is an award-winning author and journalist.

His next novel The Offing will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2019.

His latest book, Under The Rock, a work of non-fiction, is published May 2018.

Recipient of the Roger Deakin Award, his novel The Gallows Pole was published to acclaim in 2017 and was winner of the Walter Scott Prize 2018 - the world's
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