‘I once saw one carrying a segment of Terry’s Chocolate Orange’

6 May

amy liptrot

Amy Liptrot has provided me with my favourite line from any book I have read this year as she recalled her wild life in London Fields and the wildlife of Orkney.

Using her return to the remote Scottish islands following a three-month spell in rehab as the segment of her life to tap and unwrap in a memoir, Liptrop was an engagingly awkward presence at the Arts Centre.

Born on Orkney to English parents, the young Amy yearned for bright lights and anything but farming and cliffs.

A journalistic career and a love of techno music brought with it all of the conditions for a heavy dependence on alcohol to develop.

The return to Orkney brought Amy’s transformation into a wildlife enthusiast and writer; it also saw her man the ‘Corncrake Hotline’ as part of a surveying job for the RSPB.

In her clear and elegant prose, Amy explores herself, Orkney and that habit we have of always wanting to be somewhere else.

‘The Outrun’ is a great read and one which poses many questions without imposing its own answers.

In the question and answer session, much was made of Amy’s poetic prose with its arresting images of isolation and crowded city life.

One of the images shared again by Amy as she read from her book was the way that she used to imagine the layout of her former block of flats and superimpose it on farmland in Orkney, building a contrast in her lives which could not easily be reconciled.

The seagull may have got the segment of Chocolate Orange but we got the real reward, the slice of honesty and self-effacing charm that makes ‘The Outrun’ standout alongside other ‘recovery’ memoirs .

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