The End We Start From
Author: Megan Hunter
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Genre: Adult Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Blurb (as on GoodReads):
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.
A family is on the run to save themselves and their newborn from the flood that has swallowed most of the country. With the backdrop being London, the story offers us country lanes and cities that have been reduced to nothing. Passing from camp to camp, looking for food and shelter, they start to lose people. One by one. There are fights for survival and food. Fight to eliminate the competitor because the times are desperate and the resources are few. Will they be able to face the difficulties and survive nature’s wrath?
An extremely short and fast read, the narration is blunt but managed to leave me wanting for more. The writing style reminds me of the running notes we all tend to make in our personal diaries/journal. For starters, the characters have names that have been reduced to the first alphabet. So we have character names as R, Z, C, H etc. The book isn’t detailed but metaphors have been used to covey the severity of the situation. The tiny details one notices, the hope we all cling to for survival has been penned down to perfection.
Sometimes its difficult to catch hold of the events/thoughts the author is trying to convey but those are rare. Its an emotional and touching ride through the hardships the family had to face. Not just one family, but all those homeless people trying to survive and give a better life to their kids.
The protagonist is a woman who stays quiet, notices almost everything and clings to her newborn for survival. Her days pass noticing all the tiny changes that the baby undergoes as time passes. She loses her family during this process of evacuation but stays quiet and never asks why/how. Even when she does, she is denied answers.
The End We Start From has left me agitated and terrified with those subtle sentences and metaphors that carry the dead weight of destruction and loss. The book is full of promises and proves that hope is the only constant companion in the catastrophic dystopian world the author created for all of us.
Are you a fan of Dystopian novels?