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Bookreview: 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. 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 the baby’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.” – As seen on the back of the book.

Bookreview of “The end we start from” by Megan Hunter

This book is written in a slightly unusual format, with more ‘pauses’ and breaks between passages and therefore the reader might need time to adjust in order to enjoy reading it, but I think the fragmented text added to the story and emphasized the experience.

It also gave an extra dimension to the ‘this could happen to everyone’ morale, that all the characters are de-personalized and at the same time universalized, by naming  them by only a single letter. At the same time, we gain a certain distance or ditachment towards the characters because they are sort of devoid of actual personality, quite early on in the book, as the war they are dealing with is becoming more and more encompassing.


We follow a mother who gives birth in the beginning of the events (a war/natural disasters etc). We follow her and her baby and as the baby grows, the circumstances change too. The mother reflects on other people, events, places, relations, war and shortage of goods but also – motherhood. This conflict of (the joy and struggles of) raising a child during a conflict, serves to contribute a wide range of complex emotions, with the author still not being too “dramatic” about it and simple explaining how this particular mother feels about things at given points in the story.

It is a well told story of wartimes and struggles (including those of personal relationships and motherhood) and the ending leaves us not with answers but with an unfinished story of the family whose life we where dumped into in the beginning – just as war is unfinished and unclear and uncertain, thus this book is ending at just the right place. What indeed comes next, after “it’s all over” and everyone can begin restoring their lives and families?

It’s a good book, an easy read when you get into it,  but the subject itself can be heavy and the writing style takes a little getting used to, even for some experienced readers.

Do you have any thoughts on the book or subject? I’d love to hear what you have on your mind!

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