Sara Baume’s A Line Made by Walking is a novel formed by meandering, two steps forward and one step back, over the same small patch of Irish earth. Its aimless artist-heroine, Frankie, retreats to her late grandmother’s bungalow in a state of existential despair. The bungalow, in the remote countryside, ‘shimmered with healing potential’, and so Frankie squirrels herself away to press her cheek into the musty carpet, contemplate dust mites and venture forth now and again to photograph roadkill.
Following her acclaimed debut, Spill Simmer Falter Wither, Baume achieves the feat of making a book about depression, alienation and other cheerful subjects deeply absorbing and, ultimately, uplifting. She does this through the elegant lucidity of her prose, the sharp truth of her insights and the wry humour