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Books Editorial

theoffing.jpg The Offing
 

Benjamin Myers, Bloomsbury

Set in austerity Britain, just after the Second World War, ‘The Offing’ concerns 16-year-old Robert Appleyard who, on leaving school, decides that he wants to see something of the world beyond the Durham pit village where he has lived all of his life. He sets out on foot doing odd jobs on farms and living off the land as best he can. After several weeks on the road he comes across a ramshackle cottage near the Whitby coast. It’s the home of Dulcie, an eccentric older woman with a sketchy past, who only has her dog for company. The pair strike up a friendship and Dulcie opens up Robert’s eyes to new pleasures including the delights of lobster and literature. If ‘The Offing’ was a play it would be a classic two-hander, but any theatrical version would be missing Benjamin Myers’ bucolic prose, which he imbues with all the evocative rhythms of the passing seasons. This is what folk music would look like if it came in written form.