Author: Sara Baume
Publisher: Tramp Press
Staff Pick! Emma says...
“... by their seventh autumn, Bell and Sigh rarely used the spray oil because they were no longer able to hear the smallest noises made by the aging house: the scheduled cracks, the nocturnal clinking of pipes, the whisper of the refilling cistern, the chatter of the loose gutter. The house’s smallest noises seemed to take place inside their bodies, then. Each one was as quiet and as manifest as the pop of a joint; the grumble of a stomach, the glug of a sinus.” (185-6)
Seven Steeples celebrates the simple matter of time passing. The reader does not encounter any drama, jeopardy or action; there is hardly even a plot. What we are instead offered is a life shared by two people who move from the city to an isolated house in the Irish countryside. The landscape changes and then changes back. Clothes are worn through, fixed, and worn again. The dogs grow old; the house grows old, but our characters exist in a state of suspension, having separated themselves from family, community, the labour economy and all concepts of progress and productivity that go with those things. ‘Seven Steeples’ is the opposite of an epic but the feeling of its poetry is a combination of quietness and rapture. Nominated for the Goldsmiths Prize 2022.