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The Bass Rock

The Bass Rock 1

by Evie Wyld

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 04/02/2020

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
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The lives of three women weave together across four centuries in the dazzling new book from Evie Wyld, winner of the Miles Franklin Award

Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has for centuries borne witness to the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries, the fates of three women are inextricably linked to this place and to each other.

Sarah, accused of being a witch, is fleeing for her life.

Ruth, in the aftermath of the Second World War, is navigating a new marriage and the strange waters of the local community.

Six decades later, Viv, still mourning the death of her father, is cataloguing Ruth’s belongings in the now-empty house.

As each woman’s story unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that their choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men who seek to control them. But in sisterhood there is also the possibility of survival and a new way of life. Intricately crafted and compulsively readable, The Bass Rock burns bright with anger and heart – a devastating indictment of the violence that men have inflicted on women throughout the ages.

ISBN:
9781760894757
9781760894757
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
04-02-2020
Publisher:
Random House Australia
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
368
Dimensions (mm):
233x154x30mm
Weight:
0.56kg

"A multilayered masterpiece; vivid, chilling, leaping jubilantly through space and time, it's a jaw dropping novel that confirms Wyld as one of our most gifted young writers."
Alex Preston, Observer

"A dark, gristly marvel of a novel, The Bass Rock held me in thrall from cover to cover. Evie Wyld is a gothic genius: her narrative of the violence inflicted on women throughout the centuries and the seething, female anger left in its wake left me with a deep sense of disquiet that will doubtless remain for years to come."
Hannah Kent 

"Wyld is the most stupendous of writers, daring, heartfelt, explosive. The Bass Rock reminds us of all her power and brilliance, it thrums with an anger it is impossible not to feel."
Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under

"The Bass Rock is a multi-generational modern gothic triumph. It is spectacularly well-observed, profoundly disquieting and utterly riveting. Like all Evie Wyld's work it is startlingly insightful about psychological and physical abuse. It is a haunting, masterful novel."
Max Porter

Evie Wyld

Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and the UK. She now runs Review, a small independent bookshop in London. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show's Best New British Novelists.

She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 she was listed as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Evie's second novel, All The Birds, Singing, was published in 2013.

It was longlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She is the winner of the 2013 Encore Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the 2014 Miles Franklin Award. Her graphic novel with illustrator Joe Sumner, Everything is Teeth, was published in 2015.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • fans of this talented author will not be disappoin

    by on

    “There is such stillness in that small wood where my grandmother died that it catches my breath, I feel I am looking up into space or into a deep high-ceilinged crevasse. ‘Hello!’ I call, just to hear if my voice echoes back. It does, three times.”

    The Bass Rock is the third novel by award-winning British-Australian author, Evie Wyld. In post-war Britain, newly-married Ruth Hamilton finds herself in an oversized house in a village in North Berwick, Scotland. She tries, when they are home from boarding school, to connect with her step-sons, and to please her demanding, frequently-absent husband, but measuring up to the beloved wife and mother whom they lost proves discouraging.

    It’s a far cry from her existence in London, and she still sorely misses the brother who perished in the war. Ruth finds the village claustrophobic and its traditions less than wholesome. Is the vicar simply a harmless, overenthusiastic lunatic? The person she can best relate to is the house-keeper she inherited with the house. Ruth senses a presence in the house, a feeling shared by her housekeeper’s niece.

    Decades later, Viviane Hamilton is conducting an inventory so that her grandmother’s house can be sold. As a favour to her uncle, she stays on to keep the place looking lived in. As she sorts through her grandmother’s possessions, she uncovers traces of the woman about whom her own mother has been frustratingly reticent. Viv, too, senses a presence, although she can’t be sure if it’s part of her own mental problems.

    In early eighteenth-century Scotland, Sarah has been branded with the taint of her mother’s unconventional lifestyle. When harvests fail and livestock sickens, the villagers, convinced she is a witch, want to burn her. Their priest and his son rescue her and flee through the woods towards the coast.

    The three clearly distinguished main narrative strands are arranged in a nested format and these nests are interspersed with short, anonymous pieces that graphically illustrate the fate of women who sometimes make poor choices but are often simply at a disadvantage due to their gender.

    This tale of murder, mental, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence illustrates the ongoing powerlessness of women and children in a patriarchal society. But there is also love and loyalty and friendship, and it highlights the resilience of women who support each other and don’t accept the old lie: that mentality that encourages male privilege without challenge. And a certain odious character does meet a deserving fate.

    Echoes of each narrative appear in the others. Viviane’s inner monologue and her conversations are often a source of dark humour. Wyld’s prose is often exquisite: “It rains through the night and all day, but it is not cold. The air is heavy, in the early parts of the morning, like a blanket weighing on us. The loud patter of drops on leaves and the way it moves the scrub around us, jumping off the spring-green growth, weighing down the branches, makes me think of us moving across the belly of a gigantic scaled beast, warmed by its blood.” This is a brilliant read and fans of this talented author will not be disappointed.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Random House Australia