Leaving behind the familiar hills of England, X makes for Europe with just her 75-litre backpack. She’s determined to find loneliness. And she does, sublimely on a new hilltop or painfully in a tone of disconnection. But she also finds companionship and separations. It is by committing herself to new people, new wilds, and new homes that X explores inner expanses. This is reflected in Unsworth’s outward-looking prose, which captures both fibrous detail and planetary speeds and motions. Unsworth’s debut novel is a testament to the versatility of language and of the human spirit.