Friday 4 September 2015

Edinburgh Book Festival - Author Event - Sara Baume and Ian Stephen

I've been a little random about the writing-up of our visit to Edbookfest so this last piece is actually about the first event we went to!
It brought together two of the First Book Award nominees - Sara Baume and Ian Stephen. I've heard a  lot about Sara Baume's debut novel Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither through Irish bookbloggers such as Bleach House Library and had it on my 'want to read' list for a while but Ian Stephen's A Book Of Death and Fish was completely unknown.
It turned that they had quite a few things in common. Both books were published by small independent publishers - Tramp and Saraband - and share a theme, with a man looking back over his life, reminiscing about this and that, following his memories as they, seemingly randomly, pop into his mind. Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither takes it's starting point as a man talking to a newly-adopted dog, sharing his secrets and confidences with it; A Book of Death and Fish starts with a man making a will - obviously a good point from which to reflect back on his life. The voices of the two main characters were very different though, with a more poetic feel to Baume's writing. I also had the impression that Sara Baume's story has a rural setting, while Ian Stephen's although set on the Hebridean island of Lewis is a more urban novel, set as it is in the fishing port of Stornoway.
Both authors' readings certainly had me wanting to know more about both books, and I'm hoping to read them soon.

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