STARRED REVIEW
April 2017

A breakdown and a breakthrough

By Sara Baume
Review by

In Sara Baume’s second novel, A Line Made by Walking, we meet Frankie on the cusp of turning 26, seemingly posed for a conventional coming-of-age story—until she’s unable to swallow, hear or pull herself up off the old carpet.

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In Sara Baume’s second novel, A Line Made by Walking, we meet Frankie on the cusp of turning 26, seemingly posed for a conventional coming-of-age story—until she’s unable to swallow, hear or pull herself up off the old carpet.

Frankie, determined if nothing else, hopes to regain her footing and find some artistic inspiration by moving into her grandma’s vacant house in the Irish countryside. Solitary among the green pastures, roaming cows and plenty of dead wild things, Frankie reflects on her life and takes stock of exactly why happiness has eluded her so far.

Throughout her reverie, readers meet Frankie at different ages and phases of life, always surrounded by the loving company of family, friends and a creative community. And in each scenario, she is hopelessly incapable of dwelling in that comfort and that sense of belonging. Artists often hold a divergent view of the same world we share, and Baume takes full advantage of this ethos, using Frankie’s reflections and wavering mental health as a way to keep us guessing whether her perpetual suffering and experiments are a form of art in itself.

There is no denying that A Line Made by Walking is full of sadness and pain, but with captivating writing, a vivid rural landscape and frequent references to famous works of art, Baume creates a layered experience that leaves the reader nurtured and restored. For artists and lovers of art, this will be an extra-special treat.

 

RELATED CONTENT: Read a Q&A with Sara Baume for A Line Made by Walking.

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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