The End We Start From (Paperback)Megan Hunter (author)
Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May 2018
Brave and unflinching, The End We Start From is a powerful vision of the future that is utterly unforgettable.
When I was a child I thought I had been chosen for our times. The ending times. The creeping times.
In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z.
Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z's small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.
This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Megan Hunter's The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family's world - of new life and new hope - sings with love.
Startlingly beautiful, written in honed and sparing prose, The End We Start From has captured Waterstones bookseller’s imaginations with its haunting depiction of a broken world just a hair’s breadth from our own. Visually unforgettable, the book’s film rights have already been sold to Benedict Cumberbatch's production company, SunnyMarch. Both a staggering dystopian vision and a fiercely honest portrayal of love’s capacity to endure, it marks the emergence of a striking new talent. .
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 144
Weight: 198 g
Dimensions: 196 x 132 x 14 mm
‘A stunning tale of motherhood. Megan has crafted a striking and frighteningly real story of a family fighting for survival that will make everyone stop and think about what kind of planet we are leaving behind for our children.’ - Benedict Cumberbatch
‘A dystopia that feels utterly convincing as our narrator gives birth to her son in a London under threat of advancing flood waters. She lives in the gulp zone so must head off into a familiar territory that has become terrifying in search of shelter and safety. This slender take on new motherhood has stayed with me - not least in making me think about the UK as a place to flee from rather than to, and to imagine Londoners turned refugees.’ - Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist
‘Extraordinary... The End We Start From is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, in that it shares the same narrative detachment, and the same precise poetry. It is of course told from the perspective of a mother, rather than a father, and is set in a world that is only beginning to fall into chaos. And in the midst of it all, each parent cradles their child, enchanted by their breathing. "Sometimes he sleeps so quietly it seems that he has gone." Megan Hunter's remarkable debut novel feels like the other half of the story.’ - Financial Times
‘The End We Start From is an effective, unusual and ambitious debut, which keeps the reader pinned to the page’ - Guardian
‘Strange and haunting... This isn't a novel in which exposition is a problem; it's more Virginia Woolf does cli-fi... Good news then that film rights have already been snapped up, by Benedict Cumberbatch's production company SunnyMarch and Hera Pictures. Let's just hope they do it justice; the dystopian elements are the easy sell, the beating heart of this tender and tremendous story is without doubt Hunter's portrait of early motherhood, an all-encompassing world of its own.’ - Independent
‘Megan Hunter uses words sparingly. In her startlingly poetic debut, The End We Start From, she even rations her letters. She calls her characters R and Z and each paragraph is only a sentence or two long. Hunter tangles the delight and disorientation of new motherhood with scenes of societal collapse. As everything seems to be ending, as London floods, a new life begins, hot and pink and hungry. Hunter writes with delicacy and precision; her imagery is pearlescent in places. It's a sliver of a novel, but it shimmers.’ - Observer
‘The End We Start From is strange and powerful, and very apt for these uncertain times. I was moved, terrified, uplifted - sometimes all three at once. It takes skill to manage that, and Hunter has a poet's understanding of how to make each word count.’ - Tracy Chevalier
‘The End We Start From is a beautifully spare, haunting meditation on the persistence of life after catastrophe. I loved it.’ - Emily St. John Mandel
‘A shot of distilled story... engrossing, compelling and finally hopeful - Naomi Alderman ‘I can't remember ever having read a novel quite as sparing or as daring as Megan Hunter's The End We Start From, or one that delivers so mighty an impact from such delicate materials. It is a moving, wistful and compelling debut.’ - Jim Crace
‘I'll be recommending this book for years to come. Utterly brilliant, hugely important. Here's the thing: it's perfect.’ - Nathan Filer
‘Extraordinary. Megan Hunter's prose is exquisite, her depiction of a world descending into chaos is frighteningly real, and yet, it is her portrayal of motherhood - that tender-terrifying experience of bringing a child into a world - that has remained with me. The End We Start From is an incredible, original exploration of all that beauty, boredom and bewilderment. I read it in one sitting, and was deeply moved.’ - Hannah Kent
‘Spellbinding... a debut [that] packs a punch that belies its brevity, with the author's background in poetry shining through... The End We Start From is a slender novel, but more profoundly moving than novels six times as long. It is perfectly balanced between fear and wonder. The world around them may be falling apart in the most extraordinary way, but ordinary life goes on and, as Hunter makes us understand, what a beautiful life it is.’ - The Bookseller
‘Powerful... an uplifting celebration of the reality of motherhood in the face of terrifying global disaster’ - Daily Mail
‘This debut is a story of a new mother and her baby who are turned into refugees after a mysterious environmental crisis. The End We Start From is a relevant story of our times which shrewdly ponders the meaning of survival and humanity in desperate times.’ - Wales Arts Review
‘Startling... beautiful and insightful. Everyone who reads this will come away feeling renewed.’ - Elle Magazine
‘In a future London, a mysterious environmental crisis is causing flooding. On the day a woman gives birth to her first child, Z, her home and the city is submerged, and she and her husband R are forced to leave in search of safety. In a scant 127 pages, Megan Hunter creates a powerful and painful story of love and endurance, and of the experiences of being a mother and a refugee.’ - Stylist
‘Brilliant... Hunter traces - with expert precision and such lyricism - who we are when life is minimised... an echo of Jenny Offill's Dept of Speculation... a visceral, poetic confession.’ - Sinead Gleeson, Irish Times
‘Fans of Station Eleven will love this.’ - Red magazine
‘Natural disasters and climate-related catastrophes might make for a compelling setting, but to really catch a reader's interest, you need to have the personal touch. And this is a novel that takes that principle down to its sparsest, simplest best, focusing on one woman and her child through a year of turmoil... best read in one sitting to fully absorb the haunting, brutal yet loving atmosphere of the narrator's journey... does a great job of capturing the intensity of early parenthood... a tale of survival in extreme conditions.’ - SFX
‘Hunter's spare, drumskin-tight prose zings off the page, and ingenious descriptions abound... It may only consist of 127 pages of impressionistic, staccato sentences, but this is a book of wide horizons and big ideas, and it's no surprise that Benedict Cumberbatch's company have just acquired movie rights. For Hunter the future looks very bright indeed.’ - Scotland on Sunday
‘A story of sheer catastrophe, peppered with endearing experiences and milestones of new motherhood. The element which defines this short piece of dystopian fiction is the unique, elegant writing style... The End We Start From is beautiful, thought-provoking and most of all, hauntingly believable. It is a tale of hope at a time when the country truly needs it. A stunning debut.’ - Manchester Evening News
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