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The Outrun

Narrated by: Tracy Wiles
Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At the age of 30, Amy Liptrot finds herself washed up back home on Orkney. Standing unstable on the island, she tries to come to terms with the addiction that has swallowed the last decade of her life.

As she spends her mornings swimming in the bracingly cold sea, her days tracking Orkney's wildlife, and her nights searching the sky for the Merry Dancers, Amy discovers how the wild can restore life and renew hope.

©2016 Amy Liptrot (P)2016 Canongate Books Ltd

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I want to start over at the beginning.

I need to move to Scotland. it's settled. obviously an island. will need a snorkel

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Slow to Start But Picks Up Brilliantly

What did you love best about The Outrun?

The narrator's recovery among her native Orkney islands. She made recovery a combo of hard work, being one with nature, and the healing power of the sea

What did you like best about this story?

It didn't grab me from the first - her alcoholism and downward spiral were dull and uninspiring. She told me nothing new. But her return home really picked up the pacing of the book. Counting the birds was terrific.

Which character – as performed by Tracy Wiles – was your favorite?

The narrator of course.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Life on the Orkneys. I may visit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Stunning setting, good memoir

3.5 stars. A thoughtful memoir recounting the author's alcoholism and journey to sobriety, made even better by a stellar narration.

Much here is not new, though it is rendered in lovely prose. In many ways, addiction stories are similar, with lives spiraling out of control, friendships tested, health endangered, and usually an undercurrent of trying to escape the traumas and disappointments (whether big or small) of life. Then again, each person is individual and the vagaries of life that led them to the substance they come to abuse are different. For Liptrot, she hailed from a family where her father struggled mightily with mental illness and was often at odds with her evangelical mother. Likewise, Liptrot suspected that she might have some of her father's manic and depressive tendencies. For her, her drinking started out in the normal range for her age and social circle but became more intense, less controlled, and eventually wrecked her relationship with a boyfriend, made her job untenable, led to a series of incredibly reckless encounters, and finally forced her to face the fact that she needed to get help.

Where this memoir does stand out from others is that her recovery is played out in the landscape of her childhood - the Orkney Islands off of Scotland. Liptrot describes this windswept and severe setting with great skill, making the cliffs and sea come alive, painting the summer's night-less sky
with magic, and introducing us to the solitude and camaraderie of these lightly populated places (where wildlife often outnumbers people). As she comes to terms with sobriety, she finds herself attempting to accept life without alcohol, working to sever the neurological connections that have been built up over years of drinking. Liptrot obviously struggles to find meaning and purpose for herself, and to really live each day, rather than just trying not to drink. In doing so, she takes long walks and explores her home island and others in the grouping. She takes a job that involves canvassing the island in search of a rare bird, she joins a group that swims in the always frigid seas, she writes and reads and takes time to gain strength and perspective and confidence.

While Liptrot's journey from addiction to sobriety to some measure of contentment is not unique, having it take place in this remote part of the world makes the book well worth the time.

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the struggle is real

I appreciate the authors struggle. I felt like I was there trying to get through this book... if I wasn't listening while driving my guess is I would not have made it through. there are some beautifully descriptive passages, and some of my issue may have been timing after reading multiple "self reflective help books" in a row. I'm sure it helped her heal and may certainly give inspiration, I love the rawness in parts, but next time I just want someone to create a story for me to enjoy!

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3.5 stars

Oh, the Merry Dancers!
There was a level of honesty reached with the writing of this memoir that must have been difficult to put to paper. That, I admire. Among the brutal honesties are details of living beauties she seeks in place of the drink. What a beautiful journey through the recovery process!

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  • Suswati
  • 09-23-17

An important listen, but a little haphazard

Dealing with an addiction is no mean feat, it's an illness as Amy Liptrot explains in this memoir where she battles alcoholism. Some of the incidents are truly horrifying, not because of what she does to herself, but more so what the illness does to her and as a result her life spirals downwards. And while that part I can truly engage with, the random long explanations about her newfound passions for astronomy, sea and bird life seems to go off in a tangent.

You can definitely recognise her addictive personality manifesting in new hobbies, and obsessing in the same way. And at least that's healthier, but as a reader, I seemed to lose concentration on her rural lifestyle. Very good insight into mental health and addiction though.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Martyn
  • 09-13-17

The Outrun

A fascinating, informative and very insightful book which could help anyone struggling with an addiction or just wanting a good read..

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • jillian grant
  • 09-11-16

Overall, a well written and read book.

What made the experience of listening to The Outrun the most enjoyable?

Hearing about the birds on Orkney and other islands.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Outrun?

Can't think of 1.

Have you listened to any of Tracy Wiles’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Hearing about some of Amy's experiences with depression and some of her thoughts, I can relate to.

Any additional comments?

Overall, this book is well written and read and I found her journey to becoming and remaining sober interesting, but I found it a little boring at the end and I feel awkward saying that about a story that is actually real life.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard
  • 04-24-17

Soothing

Wish I could of just kept listening. Let's you know life can be hard but it can get better.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Drawing Lady
  • 05-26-19

The reality of alcoholism

The author says two things that make me really understand what it must be like to be an alcoholic.
"I fantasise about having a drink the way you would fantasise about having an affair."
"I knew all the whereabouts of the off-licenses within a five-mile radius of my flat."

It must be absolutely horrible to be an alcoholic. I love my glass of wine but it's usually no more than that. I sometimes worry about drinking (once a year, maybe) and then wonder if I'm in denial. But this is a whole different level. i have no idea how the author is still alive.

She seems like a nice person and the writing is excellent. My only criticism is that there isn't a single line of dialogue which can be a bit...lonely at times.

You're transported to the islands of Orkney which my husband says are totally bleak, no matter what she says, but she makes it all sound very romantic. She IS born to it, after all.

It's not depressing at all and I recommend it. And boy am I glad that I never found that drinking and partying lifestyle so attractive that it wasn't easy to walk away at the ripe old age of 23. Poor Amy, what a curse to be born with this terrible affliction. But she has kicked it (no spoiler there) and I admire her greatly for that.

The narrator has a beautiful voice.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura
  • 11-04-17

Wonderful

I'm now obsessed with Orkney! Amy's description of the landscape, the weather, the birds, geology and the history of the area was fascinating. I loved the detail provided, not too much detail about mundane living conditions and rent, more focus on the community and values the people hold. Her escape from London was a relief and I loved hearing about her grow in strength as she learnt more about herself by living on Papa Westray. It's a story many people will be able to relate to, I do in the rural to urban transition as a teenager and the subsequent pull it has over you, as an adult. I have already recommended this to many different people for varied reasons, I think it will resonate with so many.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • paper siskin
  • 06-01-17

Uncompromising and beautiful

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A meditative evolution through addiction and regaining control. Beautifully written with its evocative prose, this book will resonate with the unhappy, recovering and anyone in search of where they belong.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Gabrielle Dickinson
  • 03-15-17

loved it

loved this book. amazing and beautiful. honest and powerful. restful and hectic. I'll miss listening to it.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • sue glason
  • 05-01-19

second time

enjoyed so much first time I listened again. very descriptive not just off nature but also of emotional Struggle

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  • Lisa
  • 03-24-19

Beautifully told and engaging throughout.

This transported me into the two diverse worlds Liptrot describes so beautifully; the whirlwind existence of her drinking days and the spectacular environment of the remote Scottish landscape.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-21-19

Beautifully crafted book

Loved this story and will listen to it again. So much life and hope in Amy's tale. Fascinating imagery of life in the Orkney Islands. The reading by Tracey Wiles was excellent.