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 watched over the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries the fates of three women are linked: to this place, to each other.
In the early 1700s, Sarah, accused of being a witch, flees for her life.
In the aftermath of the Second World War, Ruth navigates a new house, a new husband and the strange waters of the local community.
Six decades later, the house stands empty. Viv, mourning the death of her father, catalogues Ruth’s belongings and discovers her place in the past – and perhaps a way forward.
Each woman’s choices are circumscribed, in ways big and small, by the men in their lives. But in sisterhood there is the hope of survival and new life. Intricately crafted and compulsively readable, The Bass Rock burns bright with anger and love.
Evie Wyld grew up in Australia and the UK. She is part owner of 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, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International 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, won the 2014 Miles Franklin Award, the 2013 Encore Award, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her graphic novel with illustrator Joe Sumner, Everything Is Teeth, was published in 2015.
At once confronting, chaotic and charming, Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock is a perplexingly brilliant novel that will challenge and test the reader. Set across multiple time periods, and with three distinct narrative voices throughout, the book blurs the line between the past and the present, the real and the imagined, the natural and the unnatural world.
The Bass Rock is about family and love, and the ways that both can undo a person – as both storm and haven. It’s about the legacy of male violence and the ways in which these traumas ripple and reverberate across time and place.
Wyld’s development of her large and diverse cast of characters is incredibly precise, and the novel continues to surprise to the very last page. This book will leave readers uncertain and questioning, but also full of the imagery and atmosphere Wyld brings to life so masterfully on the page.
‘Wondrous… Expertly chilling… Wyld consistently entertains, juggling the pleasures of several different genres.’ John Williams, New York Times
‘Searingly controlled…psychologically fearless and…bitterly funny. Wyld is a genius of contrasting voices and revealed connections, while her foreshadowings are so subtle that the book demands – and eminently repays – a second read.’ Justine Jordan, The Guardian
‘The Bass Rock is an intelligently woven tale of humanity, self-awareness and finding a better path to safety and equality in the future.’ Karen Viggers, The Canberra Times