The Offing by Benjamin Myers

Where the sea and sky join, that’s the offing – the horizon. The Second World War has just ended. Sixteen-year-old Robert Appleyard leaves his home village in the heart of the Durham coalfield and heads south on foot. He learns how to look after himself, undertakes labouring work and takes a growing interest in the natural world. As summer begins, he reaches the North Yorkshire coast. And it is here, near Robin Hood’s Bay, that he encounters the extraordinary Dulcie Piper – much older, bohemian, semi-reclusive – and gets no further. Together they will explore their pasts, present and future, and Dulcie’s tragic link to the close-by sea.
You might know Benjamin Myers from his superbly gritty historical novel The Gallows Pole (please disregard the recent misguided TV dramatisation). The Offing couldn’t be more different. Myers demonstrates a wonderfully lyrical style to describe the landscape and lives of northern England, incredibly poetic at times. And that’s appropriate, as poetry is at the heart of this poignant coming-of-age story.

Reviewed by a library member