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The End We Start From

Summary The End We Start From

Aces 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 oddsThis is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting a familiar world made dangerous and unstable its people forced to become ref. When I finished this short thought provoking novel which I read in almost one sitting my reaction

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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 tr. I rate this 35 starsSometime in the future London is submerged beneath floodwaters and people fear Les Chocolats et petites bouchées 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 tr. I rate this 35 starsSometime in the future London is submerged beneath floodwaters and people fear

Megan Hunter ½ 2 Summary

Ugees 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 lo. After digesting for a couple days am still not uite sure how I feel about this short dystopian rea

10 thoughts on “The End We Start From

  1. says:

    My first reaction upon finishing this book is no I didn't know what it was about so I just kept reading and trying to decipher what was going on the whole time I got very annoyed by the choppy writing and the vagueness It does become clear that it's about a women who recently gives birth in a world where things are unstable but the instability is also itself vague at points there's reference to war though there are some things that allude to the environmental crisisflooding that I just read about in the summary The premise itself is an interesting one actually and I would be down to read a novel about surviving in a world with marked instability while just having given birth and trying to deal with a new born I think the writing style just threw me here it felt annoying and it didn't really make me form any attachments to the characters so the whole time I was just like waiting to finish the book Also what was the purpose of using the first initial instead of names? Like it just made it detached I'm sure an argument could be made for the writing style being a way to set a certain tone and capture the feeling of discombobulation around living in a world filled with sudden instability and of new motherhood If that is what the author was trying to do though I don't think it was done very well

  2. says:

    I rate this 35 starsSometime in the future London is submerged beneath floodwaters and people fear the end of the world is drawing near As the floods approach a woman gives birth to a baby boy Z Within a few days she and her husband R must flee their home and search for a safer placeEach day they worry about whether the floods will find them When they take refuge with R's parents they discover that the fear is never far away from them And while the woman is worried about what is happening in the world around her and how R is reacting to it all she spends so much of each day simply marveling at her baby and how he is growing flourishing even as the future is uncertain She is overwhelmed by her maternal feelings by the miracle she and R createdAs the trio moves to a camp where other displaced people are living the claustrophobia the uncertainty the panic becomes too much for R to bear He leaves his wife and baby ostensibly to see what other options are out there but both know what this departure could signifyHe says it will only be for a week or so To get a break To look into other options He says we should stay that it is safer The relief is hanging from him a loose shirt I look at the car before I lose it I try to take in all of its details Before he leaves I put his full hand over my face like a mask I do this even though there is no point Even though smells can't be heldAs circumstances force her to move again she begins making friends with others in similar situations But she longs for her husband reflects on their love and tries not to stagger under her feelings of love and responsibility for her son She cannot stop living even though she misses her husband because she must live for her son She must show him love experience his moments of joy and sadness and watch him growI never would have imagined a book so sparsely written could be so lyrical but The End We Start From feels almost poetic at times Megan Hunter chose her words so carefully it was as if she wanted to be sure no excess words distracted from the beauty of her writingOur city is here somewhere but we are not We are all untied is the thing Untethered floating drifting all these things And the end the tether the re leash is not in sightAs much as Hunter's prose is breathtaking the story itself could use a little meat Maybe it was her intent for her readers to fill in the blanks she left in the story but I would have preferred a bit narrative I also found the gimmick of referring to every character with their first initial the protagonist only interacted with one person per letter it appeared to be a little twee I'm never a fan of books that refer to people or places that wayThis was a moving thought provoking read one that I completed in one sitting I took a bit longer for lunch because I had to finish this book I liked it a good deal but didn't love it as I'd hoped—it's not perfect and Hunter's storytelling choices may rub some the wrong way To me however The End We Start From signifies the birth of a new literary talent Megan Hunter is definitely one to watch because if this is her first novel I can only imagine what comes nextSee all of my reviews at

  3. says:

    Beautifully and frustratingly sparse This book is written in absolutely stunning prose that in places feels like poetry It is stylistically wonderful its sparseness works great in conveying the way the world has shrunk around the protagonist; minimizing her field of vision around the essentials her new born son and her husbandSet in the not so distant future when the oceans have risen dramatically and drowned much of England the main character has just given birth to her son when she has to leave London to go North We follow her from place to place meeting people losing people finding people The plot is near irrelevant though it is a meditation on motherhood on beginnings and endings on love and loss All the characters are only referred to by their initials leaving the reader at a distance and rendering this very personal tale universalI adored the way this book was told; I enjoyed the juxtaposition of motherhood and the end times and I found many sentences beautiful beyond words It was a highly satisfying reading experience however I am not sure how much of it will stick with me The book is too short and sparse to really tell a story and the language while stunning does not help the feeling of detachment The book is full with metaphors and foreshadowing and mixes the personal and the universal in a highly stylized matter But sometimes I like books told in style and glitter and beautiful sentences Here I didFirst sentence I am hours from giving birth from the event I thought would never happen to me and R has gone up a mountain I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review Thanks for that

  4. says:

    A very interesting and timely premise The water levels are rising London already under water and it is spreading to cover different cities and towns A young woman is about to give birth and soon has baby Z Fascinating juxtsposition a pending breakdown of society with the wonder of a new birth They are forced to move again and again from camp to camp as the water rises and as food supplies dwindle Baby Z grows and a mother's love for her child very apparent The story is told in short sparse paragraphs with uotes from the book of Genesis creation and the flood interspersed between certain segments This was done so well but there was one hurdle I could not overcome The constant use of initials bugged me to no end and also made this short book confusing trying to sort out and remember who was who Possibly this was done to show that in a society collapse an environmental disaster names no longer matter only survival does but for me it lessened the impact of the story bring toldI am not sorry I read this it had important issues to convey and many reviewers did not find the same impossibility of jumping through the hurdle that I could not Judge for yourself

  5. says:

    When I finished this short thought provoking novel which I read in almost one sitting my reaction on the one hand was that this could be seen as a bold debut or on the other as an overly ambitious one There is no dialogue the characters are nameless except for an initial and the structure of the book is different than most novels I lean toward the bold even with a reservation about nameless characters Some catastrophic event is occurring Though we never are told specifically the devastating floods leaving London under water and surrounding areas in danger there was for me an innate understanding that it was brought out by mankind by perhaps a lack of acknowledgement of the causes of climate change Our narrator gives birth at the beginning of the story and immediately I felt the hope and beauty of this set against what was happening The imminent danger of the water the food shortages and the instinct for survival for themselves and the new baby Z is the impetus for moving north to her husband R's family It is here that the direness of the circumstances which up until this point seem removed hit home The world around them is flooding and society has fallen apart People are lost to the disturbances looking for food and to survive they must move from place to place shelters and camps Yet in spite of it all a new born baby thrives a woman moves through the beginnings of her journey of motherhood Right from the beginning I didn't like the use of initials instead of names Maybe this is a way of making them appear as everyone anywhere but for me it removed a level of the connection I want to have with characters in the book I'm reading Having said that I loved the structure short chapters with short paragraphs interspersed with biblical uotes and some lovely lyrical lines from other places There are beautiful passages of a new mother's awareness of the baby she holds in her arms Eerie and haunting a little hopeful this is a warning call in what could happen I’m looking forward to what Megan Hunter will do next I received an advanced copy of this book from Grove Atlantic through NetGalley

  6. says:

    ‘’In the darkness demons flew Their shapes made a fearful noise until a voice called out and they were still and the silence was complete’’When we have read 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale it is reasonable to believe that it would be rather difficult to be touched by any other dystopian novel Yet we may be mistaken At least I was Frightfully I frankly don’t know where to begin with The End We Start From It shocked me frightened me moved me and disturbed me And as far as I am concerned it managed to enter my personal Holy Trinity of dystopian novelsThe story starts with a birth the eternal symbol of life hope and continuation An unnamed couple is one of the few remaining parents of a hospital before it’s forced to close down Why?Because terrible floods have been plaguing the land and London has become almost uninhabitable There is no electric power no internet no television no work and food has become scarce They abandon their flat in order to find shelter in camps in areas that are still dry The odyssey of coping with a new way of life is the heart of the novel ‘’Our city is heresomewhere but we are not’’ How does someone find the strength to carry one once everything is lost? Where do we find courage to survive and perhaps build our lives again? One of the most powerful motives if not THE most powerful is the welfare of our children The mother who is our sole eyes and ears in the entire story finds comfort in the company of other mothers who try to provide for their newborns and in watching her own son grow day by day Little Z is blissfully unaware of the situation and discovers the world through his own instinct with his mother’s helpOne of the ways she implores to keep her sanity is going back retreating in childhood memories ‘’Once someone knocked me over An accident I presumed He didn’t look back’’ Humanity lies at the heart of the story Why does she say ‘’presumed’’ to refer to a past incident? An accident we all have faced especially when commuting daily Is the spreading of inhumanity and personal isolation one of the signs and causes of disaster? Perhaps we need to face a universal catastrophe in order to realise how wrong we have been how imprisoned in our microcosm? The mother doesn’t answer her own uestions she contemplates tries to find something that could possible make sense and hold on until a new day dawnsTo talk about themes characters and language in this book seems to me dry and completely unnecessary There is no dialogue only short sentences that reminded me of the best examples of existential poetry And yet in two short paragraphs there is character development than we meet in whole chapters in other books The mother’s voice is completely humane sometimes desperatemost of the times calm and acuteThe story of Noah from the Old Testament the Greek myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha are constantly used in the narration Most civilizations have their own myth of the Flood as a punishment for the avarice of men Perhaps mankind has been afraid of the power of water since the beginning of Time perhaps we’ve known the damage we cause to everything that was given to us There are also many references to myths of the Creation from many different culturesI don't think that anyone who is going to read this novel will manage to remain indifferent It is a beautiful book with a moving profound and hopeful conclusion A breath of fresh air in the zombie filled tortured and abused Dystopian Genre a novel that we’re going to discuss for years to comeARC kindly provided by Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an honest review

  7. says:

    NOW AVAILABLE ”What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning The end is where we start from” TS Eliot Four uartets ”I am hours from giving birth from the event I thought would never happen to me and R has gone up a mountain”She is thirty two weeks pregnant when the announcement is made that the water is rising even faster than they thought She is thirty nine weeks pregnant when they return to tell them they don’t have to move it was all a miscalculationR returns from the mountain hours after their son is born they name him Zeb but he is forever after referred to as Z Z – the sound of soft slumber Forced to leave their apartment soon after Z’s birth they go to the home of R’s parents where they stay a while in their countryside home Eventually they leave; they need to keep going to find a place of their own A place where the means to survive are not uite so meager ”At first there was only the sea only the sky From the sky came a rock which dropped deep into the sea A thick slime covered the rock and from this slime words grew”As the world they knew grows distant from the life they are living Z grows as well An infant whose daily weekly monthly changes are visible a living reminder of the hope that comes with new beginnings Interspersed are snippets of apocalyptic projections some are biblical in nature with a mixture of various cultural myths of creation thrown in all read as though they were written with a heavenly touch However there are some exceptions in this novel where the writing is overwrought and some exceptions where to me a chosen phrase makes little sense A cautionary tale about climate change an ode to the bond of a mother and child to the bonds we form to help us better weather these tumultuous days A reminder that sometimes in order to get where we want to go we need to find a way to make a new beginningPub Date 14 Nov 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Grove Atlantic Grove Press

  8. says:

    What a strange book The writing is very sparse At time the book reads like someone’s notes about a book than an actual story And it's funny how the use of initials instead of names threw me for a loop In this book a woman gives birth to her firstborn just as a flood envelopes London She and her husband escape to a mountain to live with his parents But they are forced to keep moving and half the time the reasons are not filled in People come people go It's like as the world ends so does her ability to maintain a complete thought Most of this book revolves around watching her baby grow and the normalcy of his development contrasted with how the outside world has changed I'm sure the choppy writing was meant to symbolize what was happening But for me it just irritated It was all I could do to finish this and the only reason I did is that it's a very short book My thanks to netgalley and Picador for an advance copy of this book

  9. says:

    After digesting for a couple days am still not uite sure how I feel about this short dystopian read Initially confusedI wanted The story is vague with much left unsaid but fear of the unknown is thereIn the beginningor is it the endan expectant mother's water breaks and a child called Z is born No names hereonly single capital letters for characters In a desolate newor is it oldworld water is flooding the country and struggle for survival is apparent A search for foodfamily members go missing A search for shelter family disappear Baby Z and mother give each other comfortNew friends are madethen left behind The search is on for the missingto reconnectWhat really happenedwe don't knowcan only imagineIt's THE END WE START FROM Frightening is the strange new worldUniue narration Wish I could rate this one 35 Starsbc I'm still not sureThank you NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

  10. says:

    This slender novel was the subject of a bidding frenzy at the London Book Fair and my Twitter feed has been singing its praises for the past few months I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy so I decided to see what all the commotion is aboutThe story is set in the UK of the near future An unprecedented environmental catastrophe occurs and much of London lies underwater Chaos reigns nobody was prepared for a disaster of this magnitude The narrator is forced to flee her apartment with husband R and baby Z in order to escape the Gulp Zone They make it to the house of R's parent's in the country which is safe but contains limited supplies Food is scarce and people are desperate This young family will have to battle against all odds to survive in an unforgiving alien landscapeGreat yet another dystopian tale I hear you say Well what sets this story apart is the writing style It has uite a poetic lean and there are some striking turns of phrase as Hunter imagines the fallout to such a crisis The hungry survivors of the flood have started to look like models all visible angles The silence in a deserted house is described as a textured grainy uiet a thickness to to stumble through The narrator awakes on another uncertain morning still crusty eyed and climbing out of dreamsBut not all of it works and there were lines that baffled me The idea came as a miniaturized image a crisp packet in the oven Not uite sure what that one is about And the stacked supply in the cupboard that grew shorter every day like a reverse child just feels plain awkward to me It's all very vague and mysterious and to be honest I would have appreciated a little depth and detail The whole story is only 160 pages long and it needs meat on its bones It works best when it explores the joys and fears of motherhood and the innocence of a growing baby oblivious to the turmoil unfurling around him In patches The End We Start From is a haunting lyrical parable about climate change but I finished it underwhelmed and disillusioned about what might have been