The End We Start From

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 #1 Indie Next Selection for November 2017, a Summer/Fall 2017 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, an Amazon Best of the Month in Literature & Fiction, and Belletrist’s November Book Pick

‘The End We Start From by Megan Hunter is a short, concentrated book – a shot of distilled story, like the pulp of a tale boiled to a thick spiced paste…With passages from mythology interspersed with its imagined future, the book is engrossing, compelling and finally hopeful.’ Naomi Alderman’s Book of the Year (Summer books 2017 in the Financial Times)

‘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, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring

‘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, author of Station Eleven

‘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, author of Harvest

‘An exceptional, alarming and beautiful book, which still echoes months after I finished reading it. Megan Hunter is a writer of unnerving power.’ Evie Wyld, author of All the Birds, Singing

‘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 and The Good People

‘I’ll be recommending this book for years to come. Utterly brilliant, hugely important. Here’s the thing: it’s perfect.’ Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall

‘Beautiful . . . Water isn’t the thing here, love is. And how we survive as the level of love rises.’ Cynan Jones, author of The Dig and The Cove

‘Exceptional, stunning. I devoured it.’ Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching

‘The End We Start From is relentlessly, achingly personal. Hunter reminds us that disasters are rarely experienced in panorama. Instead, we live bone-deep inside our narrator. This book is fierce, sorrowful, and spiked with moments of bright joy.’ Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You

‘The End We Start From is so good and clever: a beautiful, timely book about survival (both domestic and global) shot through with hope and humanity.’ Lisa Owens, author of Not Working

‘A very exciting debut from a hugely talented young writer. . . [Hunter’s] beautiful prose is spare, yet able to conjure every emotion in the reader from terror to wonder. A stunning achievement.’ The Bookseller (Editor’s Choice)

‘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

‘Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road…Megan Hunter’s remarkable debut novel feels like the other half of the story.’ Financial Times

‘Virginia Woolf does cli-fi…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

‘Hunter traces – with expert precision and such lyricism – who we are when life is minimised…a visceral, poetic confession.’ Irish Times

‘…startlingly poetic…Hunter writes with delicacy and precision; her imagery is pearlescent in places. It’s a sliver of a novel, but it shimmers.’ The Observer

‘Hunter’s spare, drumskin-tight prose zings off the page, and ingenious descriptions abound…a book of wide horizons and big ideas…For Hunter…the future looks very bright indeed.’ The Scotsman

‘Written in a stripped-back, detached prose that is all the more powerful for its economy, this is an uplifting celebration of the reality of motherhood in the face of terrifying global disaster.’ Daily Mail

‘The End We Start From is an effective, unusual and ambitious debut, which keeps the reader pinned to the page.’ The Guardian

‘Written in spare fragments with a lyrical pull…a haunting work, all the way to its unpredictable ending.’ The Sunday Times

‘Set in a post-apocalyptic Britain, Megan Hunter’s debut is lyrical, uplifting and unmissable.’ Stylist

‘A new take on the dystopian genre…Beautiful & insightful. Everyone who reads this will come away renewed.’ Sharmaine Lovegrove Elle

‘Her slender, startling debut shimmers with light…Tender and profound.’ Psychologies Magazine (Book of the Month)

‘Poetic, precise, and surprisingly full of warmth, this is a beautiful story about the first months of motherhood and the places where hope springs, even in the darkest of times.’ AnOther Magazine

‘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

‘This novel’s short length belies the depth of the poetry and love in its pages.’ Sheerluxe

‘This is a slim volume that’s best read in one sitting to fully absorb the haunting, brutal yet loving atmosphere of the narrator’s journey.’ SFX 

‘…a thoroughly plausible end of the world. Like Emily St John Mandel’s luminous Station Eleven, or Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, you read it with the conviction that this is what it would be like.’ New Statesman

‘A uniquely intimate tale of motherhood amid catastrophe.’ Booklist

‘Hunter’s slim yet sharp debut offers a level of precision and interiority rarely seen in the genre…Told in a voice that is by turns meditative, desperate, and hopeful, this novel showcases Hunter’s considerable talents and range.‘ Publishers Weekly

‘The power of Hunter’s story is both in its spare prose, which undulates and captures searing images as poems might otherwise do, and in the connection of its future to the past…meditations on what has been lost are heartrending in their clarity and familiarity.’ Foreword Reviews

‘I’m reading Megan Hunter’s extraordinary debut, The End We Start From, this fall. It’s a spare, futuristic fable about a brand-new mother navigating a flooded world. While it’s written with poetic reticence, it paints an expansive and moving portrait of the struggles and celebrations that any new parent faces against a backdrop that feels at once like a distant nightmare and an all-too-probable consequence of climate change.’ Vogue US

‘A flood of spare prose courses through Megan Hunter’s debut novel, The End We Start From.’ Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair

‘We must be careful when reading this conflation of creation and flood myths that we aren’t lulled by its deceptive simplicity and exquisite aesthetic—both in language and physical presentation…This is a hopeful book with a directive to trust. I really want to.’ Lit Hub

‘…spare, stylish…the real strength of this wonderfully earthy novel is in its sharpened lens on motherhood’s apocalyptic-feeling joys and terrors, and how they can form an all-encompassing world.’ Vogue US

‘Hunter manages to avoid maudlin fearmongering and instead paints a perfect portrait of rebirth…’ Elle US

Author: Hunter, Megan
Publisher: Picador
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