Sarah Jane Butler


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Fairlight Books
29 September 2022
ISBN: 9781914148170
256 pages

From the publisher

Starling can trap a rabbit, cook a meal from a hedge and hear a bailiff coming from a mile off. All she has ever known is a nomadic existence, travelling in a converted van with Mar, her strong-willed mother.

But Mar has cut them off from their community, and this winter they’re stuck in deep mud in a wood, with no fuel, no money and no friends. One morning, without explanation, Mar leaves and doesn’t come back.

Utterly alone, Starling must learn to survive without her mother and build a life on her own terms. An offer to stay with an old friend draws her into a more conventional way of living – but can rootless Starling ever find a place where she truly belongs?

‘A beautifully written debut. Sarah Jane Butler explores the challenges of treading lightly in this modern world, the power of community and the process of recovering from a difficult mothering’ — Katherine May, author of Wintering

‘A beautiful tale of wandering and searching, full of gorgeous nature writing that illuminates our complex and varied relationships with the natural world. Starling reminds us that there are many ways to be free and wild, and we must find our own’ — Zoe Gilbert, author of Mischief Acts

‘Starling is both a hymn to the English landscape and an exploration of what it takes to live together and apart. Sarah Jane Butler writes with a visceral lyricism; she doesn’t so much observe the natural world as plunge us into its ditches, woods and rivers. A profound, gripping and deeply humane story about the choices we make in relation to the land and each other’ — Judith Heneghan, author of Snegurochka

‘Starling is a love letter to the natural world, a celebration of the threads that bind us to the land and to each other’ — Peggy Riley, author of Amity & Sorrow