The narrator of this book is a loner, an outsider, and always has been. He lives in the house he shared with his now-deceased father, with whom he had never had much connection. One spring day he sees a flyer in a window about a dog in a shelter and upon realizing the mangy, one-eyed mutt is an outsider as well, adopts it.
The rest of the story is his “dialogue” with the dog about his life and their adventures. Early on, he realizes the dog becomes very aggressive around other dogs and generally keeps him leashed. However, one day in early summer on what was usually a deserted stretch of beach, the dog goes after a small dog and the little boy with it. The narrator (never named) manages to separate them and they rush home with the child’s mother yelling after them. When a police officer comes to the door, he hides the dog and lies about it being there. He packs up a few necessities and the two of them set off in the car. They avoid the main roads and drive aimlessly around the countryside for the next few months, camping out in the car and staying away from populated areas.
Spill Simmer Falter Wither is a sweetly sad tale about two of society’s misfits and the bond they seem to form. It made me ache to read it, but I couldn’t put it down.