Just a short post to review the latest book in my reading challenge. Book number 20 is The Instant by Amy Liptrot.

I was lucky enough to attend a reading with Amy Liptrot after the release of her hugely successful memoir The Outrun, which won the 2016 Wainwright Prize. In The Outrun, Liptrot delivers a powerful memoir about her return to Orkney in order to heal from alcoholism. The nature writing in that book, as well as her honest descriptive prose about her own life were captivating, so I was excited to get my hands on her latest book, The Instant.

I have to be honest and say that I didn’t connect with The Instant in the same way as The Outrun, although I did enjoy reading it. Liptrot’s writing was as mesmerising as ever; her prose seems to dance off the page and I love the way she blends aspects of nature – in this case, urban nature – and juxtaposes this with life and all its messiness. Her writing is personal, raw and honest.

The Instant details Liptrot’s travels to Berlin, where she decides to spend the year working and adventuring as an escape from the isolation of Orkney, and focuses around themes of loneliness and finding love. Much of the second half of the book details a romance between Liptrot and a man she meets in Berlin, and the fall-out from that relationship, and I found it laboured the theme of a broken relationship for too much of the second half of the book. Clearly, this relationship deeply affected her, but I wasn’t sure that the memoir felt entirely well rounded enough.

I do think, however, that Liptrot is an interesting and captivating writer, and I love the simplicity and beauty of her prose. I also think she represents an area of writing which has long interested me of the flaneuse; the female writer wandering and writing about their experiences.

I would definitely check out both of Liptrot’s books if you haven’t already, particularly if you enjoy writing about nature and/or essays about young women’s lives. It also reminded me of Salt On Your Tongue: Women and The Sea by Charlotte Runcie, which I absolutely loved!

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