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"The Outrun" is, I think some 100 pages too long. Not you understand that it was 180 pages in, that I became wearied by the endless self absorbed bleating but that it was around that point that my belief in the work as an honest, brave and cathartic self examination by a recovering alcoholic, finally expired.

Once firmly back in Orkney (well as firmly as it gets, the constant switching between the present and past continuous tenses, together with the back and forth between the periods of her life under review, may be supposed, perhaps a little generously, to underline the protagonist's instability but also serves to destabilise the narrative) the symbolism gets rather tedious and repetitive.

I may be alone in this but it seems to me that there is something in the writing that suggests that Amy returned to Orkney to concentrate on her book. This may, or may not, have been part of her recovery process but it would perhaps explain why she has no interest in any of the other people living on the islands, not even her parents, they would after all only be a distraction from her work.

I also suspect that the book was initially intended to be a novel based on the experiences which she had accumulated in London but perhaps after she realised that she had not managed to introduce, in anything but the faintest of outline, a single character to the story other than herself, she opted for padding out another hundred pages or so with totally self absorbed metaphors and swathes of information gleaned from Wikipedia and the wider net, in order to complete the work as the memoir of one courageously exposing their own vulnerabilities. Amy is undoubtedly a talented writer and it quickly becomes apparent that there is no feature, object or event; geographical, geological, ecological, astrological, ornithological, historical or meteorological that cannot be pressed into service as a metaphor for her brave struggle with her inner daemons on her road to success.

And of course, in common with so many contemporary stories, it is successfully written with more than one eye on adaptability for the screen.

‘Based on Amy Liptrot’s prize-winning 2015 novel about alcoholism and nature, The Outrun stars Ronan as Rona, a Scot who’s just left rehab to return to the sheep farm where she grew up on the Orkney Islands for the first time in a decade. Once there, she ”reconnects with the landscape“ and begins to piece together her childhood memories, which “merge with the more recent challenging events that have set her on the path to recovery”. ’

Having found the successful formula, Amy next sets off to Berlin to research season II of her story “Traffic Islands are for Lovers”. My only possible reason for reading it would be to prove to myself that my judgement was correct.

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