Wishing to leave behind the quiet isolation of her Orkney island life, Amy Liptrot books a one-way flight to Berlin. Searching for new experiences, inspiration and love, she rents a loft bed in a shared flat and looks for work. She explores the streets, nightclubs and parks and seeks out the city's wildlife – goshawks, raccoons and hooded crows. She looks for love through the screen of her laptop.
Over the course of a year, Amy makes space hoping for the unexpected. And it comes with an erotic jolt, in the form of a love affair that obsesses her.
The Instant is an unapologetic look at the addictive power of love and lust. It is also an exploration of the cycles of the moon, the flight paths of migratory birds, the mesmerising power of Neolithic stonework and the trails followed by a generation who exist online.
Amy Liptrot is the author of The Outrun, which was a Sunday Times bestseller. She writes columns and reviews for various magazines and newspapers including the Guardian and the Spectator, and recently presented the BBC Radio 4 series The New Anatomy of Melancholy. The Outrun was awarded the Wainwright Prize and the PEN Ackerley Prize, and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize and the Ondaatje Prize. It was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and featured on the BBC Radio 2 Book Club.
"A slim, luminous account of living and loving in Berlin, picking up where The Outrun left off"
– Sunday Times
"I loved this book, such an intimate portrayal of emotional landscapes and the pull of the moon – it's one I'll return to often"
– Raynor Winn
"Brilliant on the addictive bliss of romance [...] [The Instant is] a parable about the quicksands of internet dating, and a survivors' handbook 'for the heartsick'"
"Intoxicating, generous and refreshingly original. The way Liptrot weaves her inner life with the natural world and the digital world is utterly absorbing. This book is so alive and so wild"
– Lucy Jones
"Beautiful [...] brilliant [...] The truest thing I've read in a long time. It feels revelatory to read serious, thoughtful writing on the sorts of experiences that so rarely receive it [...] The Instant is the most elegant examination of the internet's distance pain I have ever read"
– Evie Wyld, New York Times
"Elegant, melancholic and deeply yearning, The Instant captures something vital about our age: its strange dislocations and connections. I drank it in"
– Katherine May
"Enthralling and instinct-sharpening"
– New Statesman
"A book of rare power. Part heartbreaking love story, part pin-sharp exploration of relationships in the digital age, The Instant is an intense and intensely beautiful book about connection, longing and the gravitational power of nature, and human nature, on the heart"
– Rob Cowen
"Sensuous and full of promise"
"Wildness lurks in the edges of this book – nature in its more feral state, and unashamed eroticism. I gulped this slim, powerful, ravishing little book down in one"
– Cal Flyn