Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter @meganfnhunter @picadorbooks @CamillaElworthy

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. Startlingly beautiful, 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.

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter was published in hardback by Picador on 18 May 2017 and is the author's first book.

This is one of the most skilful, haunting and moving stories that I've read in a very long time. The writing is stark, almost staccato, straight to the point but wonderfully descriptive. Not quite a poem, but also not a novel, this is a work of great beauty that cannot fail to move the reader.

The story begins as the unnamed narrator's waters break, just as the waters have also taken over the whole of the country, a beautiful compare and contrast, both startling and clever.

The woman, and her husband R and their new-born baby, Z flee their home, and the rising water levels. They leave their London home for the relative safety of R's parents. For a time, they are out of danger, but the danger increases and the woman's narrative becomes more anguished and heartbroken.
As tragedy and chaos descend upon the woman and her family, her basic instinct is to protect her child, and to ensure that he is safe. She has no idea where will be safe, or who will help.

Imaginative, clever and brave. The End We Start From is a highly unusual, often devastating and incredibly readable book, The words have lingered in my memory for days after reading.

A story of hope, of survival, and most importantly of all, of love.

My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Megan Hunter was born in Manchester in 1984, and now lives in Cambridge with her young family. She has a BA in English Literature from Sussex University, and an MPhil in English Literature: Criticism and Culture from Jesus College, Cambridge. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and she was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award with her short story ‘Selfing’.
Megan’s first book, The End We Start From, is published by Picador (UK), Beck (Germany), Hollands Diep (Holland), and will soon be published by Grove Atlantic (USA), Hamish Hamilton (Canada), Gallimard (France), and Elsinore (Portugal). Rights have been acquired for film by Benedict Cumberbatch’s production company, SunnyMarch, and Hera Pictures.
Follow her on Twitter @meganfnhunter

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