Seven Steeples by Sara Baume
From Mariner Books:
One of Wall Street Journal's 10 Best Books of 2022 • Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize • Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize • An Irish Times Best Book of the Year
“One of the most beautiful novels I have ever read.” —New York Times Book Review
The acclaimed novel about a couple who, pushing against traditional expectations, move with their dogs to the Irish countryside where they embed themselves in nature and make attempts to disappear from society.
It is the winter following the summer they met. A couple, Bell and Sigh, move into a remote house in the Irish countryside with their dogs. Both solitary with misanthropic tendencies, they leave the conventional lives stretched out before them to build another—one embedded in ritual, and away from the friends and family from whom they’ve drifted.
They arrive at their new home on a clear January day and look up to appraise the view. A mountain gently and unspectacularly ascends from the Atlantic, “as if it had accumulated stature over centuries. As if, over centuries, it had steadily flattened itself upwards.” They make a promise to climb the mountain, but—over the course of the next seven years—it remains unclimbed. We move through the seasons with Bell and Sigh as they come to understand more about the small world around them, and as their interest in the wider world recedes.
Seven Steeples is a beautiful and profound meditation on the nature of love and the resilience of nature. Through Bell and Sigh, and the life they create for themselves, Sara Baume explores what it means to escape the traditional paths laid out before us—and what it means to evolve in devotion to another person, and to the landscape.