A quiet sort of book that makes you want to press it into someone's hands and say, "Read this.” Written in brief, lyrical prose, this is the narrative of a new mother navigating the beginnings of societal collapse while learning how to care for her child. What really took my breath away, though, is the shape of the landscape and the emotions revealed in what’s not said. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
This sparse novel is full of emptiness; it requires the reader to fill in the gaps. The story ends up being more about new motherhood than about fleeing from rising waters and the struggle for survival in the chaos of a climate crisis, but this is not a fault — far from it. The details ring true and overall the book is a haunting, delicate read. Recommended By Mary S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Preempted by publishers around the world within days of the 2016 London Book Fair, The End We Start From heralds the arrival of Megan Hunter, a dazzling and unique literary talent. Hunter’s debut is a searing original, a modern-day parable of rebirth and renewal, of maternal bonds, and the instinct to survive and thrive in the absence of all that’s familiar.
As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place. The story traces fear and wonder as the baby grows, thriving and content against all the odds.
The End We Start From is an indelible and elemental first book — a lyrical vision of the strangeness and beauty of new motherhood, and a tale of endurance in the face of ungovernable change.
"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, author of Burial Rites
"A beautifully spare, haunting meditation on the persistence of life after catastrophe. I loved it." Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“The postapocalyptic literary novel is currently in vogue almost to the point of redundancy, but Hunter’s slim yet sharp debut offers a level of precision and interiority rarely seen in the genre....rather than focus on the specifics of the catastrophe, the story instead becomes an investigation of the tumultuous internal life of a new mother...Told in a voice that is by turns meditative, desperate, and hopeful, this novel showcases Hunter’s considerable talents and range.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
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 the University of Sussex, 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." The End We Start From is her first book.
Megan Hunter on PowellsBooks.Blog
I have been camping on the same small patch of scrubby beach every summer since I was in utero. Ever since the days when my parents didn’t need inflatable beds, sleeping instead on flat green mats, their backs feeling every bump in the earth. In those days, the campground was filled with young people who turned up in minibuses and danced naked around fires...