Set in England over a summer in the aftermath of the second world war, the book follows 16-year-old Robert Appleyard, son of a coal miner, who leaves Durham village to head south and search for any work that isn’t coal mining. Eventually he finds himself in the old smuggling village of Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s here he meets Dulcie Piper, a fiercely independent woman, three times his elder, living with her protective German Shepherd named Butler in an unusual cottage. Seeing Robert from her yard, Dulcie offers him a room. The teenager plans on being there for only a night but Dulcie is entirely different to anyone he has ever met. Soon he finds himself trading his work for food and her infections company. She is verbose, eloquent, lobster eating, sexually liberated, motherly and foul-mouthed. He is a nationalist. She is a bohemian. As well as feeding him, Dulcie introduces him to poetry: “mankind’s way of saying that we’re not entirely alone.” She introduces Robert to writers he has never heard of – Lawrence, Whitman, Auden, Keats, Dickinson, Bronte, Rossetti – and food he has never tasted. Eventually, Robert finds an unpublished manuscript in a decaying shed. Dulcie reveals she was once the lover of Romy Landau, a tragic German poet. The manuscript, (also called The Offing), is his, and Dulcie’s past begins to unfold. It leads to the revelation of a tragic secret and a message from beyond the grave.
“A phenomenal and highly energised novel” – Sebastian Barry, “A tender, tragic but warming story of love and living amid the flux of time, the sea and the seasons, The Offing is both beautiful and beautifully told. Through its pages, Myers carefully and thoughtfully reaffirms the values and riches of human connec-tion, freedom and the joy of living on your own terms” – ROB COWEN, award-winning author of Common Ground, “It reminds me of a time when David Bowie could serve up something new with almost every album ... the book portrays an uncanny feminine touch and though the trip is gentle, there are deep undercurrents in this heart of a new rural dark-ness” – CAUGHT BY THE RIVER
“Intense and evocative” – OBSERVER, Picks for 2019, “This is a poetic book with a winning generosity of spirit, moving from a folksy cel-ebration of the rural north to a revelation of the broader horizons that can come from reading and some serious culture” – SUNDAY TIMES,“One of the most interesting, restless writers of his generation … Unfurling at the unhurried pace of a fern, it's an evocatively lyrical paean to the countryside – deeply felt and closely observed” – DAILY MAIL