The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

Evie Wyld’s lyrical third novel explores the interconnecting lives of three women across numerous decades

Book Review by Julie Vuong | 23 Mar 2020
  • The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld
Book title: The Bass Rock
Author: Evie Wyld

There’s a great deal of fight in Evie Wyld’s third novel entitled The Bass Rock, named after the Scottish island, which anchors the stories of a trio of women separated by time but connected through familiar struggles. There’s Sarah who is on the run after being accused of being a witch, Ruth who is struggling with a new marriage post-WWII and, six decades later, Viv who is cataloguing Ruth’s belongings and picking up the pieces of her own life.

Wyld is not in the mood to be timid about how these women’s fates are at the mercy of men, whether that’s through witch hunts, infidelity, abuse or oppression. The breadth of wrongs come thick and fast. Why, Viv is asked by the eccentric Maggie, are women thirty-six to forty-five most often killed by men? “They’ve finished breeding with us, but we are still fuckable.” Vicious words for what, Wyld portrays, is a vicious cycle.

The narration swaps between the women constantly, and chapters are not named, so it’s easy get disorientated. An intention perhaps, from the talented Granta Young Novelist of the Year, to catch you off guard and emphasise how time presses repeat in different forms. Wyld is often praised for her lyrical prose, and The Bass Rock is most certainly a continuation of this form. 

Jonathan Cape, 26 March, £16.99