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The Outrun: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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In her late twenties, Amy Liptrot moved to the remote Orkney Islands north of Scotland, where she had grown up, the daughter of a bipolar farmer and his evangelical wife.  Liptrot was fleeing the self-destructive hedonism (ie, drinking and drugs) of her life in London. She quit all that, and immersed herself in island life, helping lamb, searching for the rare corncrake, hiking the island perimeters, observing the Northern Lights (the Merry Dancers), and swimming in the frigid waters -- all in an effort to find out just what made her tick. A brave, moving and lyrical book.

— From Carin's Picks


When Amy Liptrot returns to Orkney after more than a decade away, she is drawn back to the Outrun on the sheep farm where she grew up. Approaching the land that was once home, memories of her childhood merge with the recent events that have set her on this journey.

Amy was shaped by the cycle of the seasons, birth and death on the farm, and her father's mental illness, which were as much a part of her childhood as the wild, carefree existence on Orkney. But as she grew up, she longed to leave this remote life. She moved to London and found herself in a hedonistic cycle. Unable to control her drinking, alcohol gradually took over. Now thirty, she finds herself washed up back home on Orkney, standing unstable at the cliff edge, trying to come to terms with what happened to her in London.

Spending early mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, the days tracking Orkney's wildlife--puffins nesting on sea stacks, arctic terns swooping close enough to feel their wings--and nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy slowly makes the journey toward recovery from addiction.

The Outrun is a beautiful, inspiring book about living on the edge, about the pull between island and city, and about the ability of the sea, the land, the wind, and the moon to restore life and renew hope.

A Guardian Best Nonfiction Book of 2016 Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller New Statesman Book of the Year

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393608960
ISBN-10: 0393608964
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 304
Language: English