The End We Start From by Megan Hunter (first published in 2017 by Picador)
In only 127 pages of fragments and snippets, Megan Hunter creates an entire world; one that is being swept away by floods and crumbling, amid loss and destruction, and yet our narrator’s spark of hope rests with her son.
His birth, which coincided with the start of the waters, is a light in a progressively darkening life. His mother’s unusual diary-like entries document not only the degradation of her surroundings, but the hope for his future, and amazement at his very existence and its all-encompassing love.
The hope of her entire future is nested in this little being. As her family tries to stay together and safe, the chaos of the rising waters seems to drown their attempts, and they are separated and estranged.
While her world is centred in her son, she nevertheless needs to find a place to call home, and the people who belong in it.
Hunter’s narrative style is completely new – fragments of thought drift across the page with ease yet finality. Each thought seems to be a story on its own, independent notions that are joined by a series of mythological or religious references throughout, making the family’s plight both personal and universal.
It is truly a thing of wonder that such a small book can hold such a powerful tale, one that leaves the reader conflicted and yearning for more long after its final page. If you want to read something beautiful yet bite-sized, let it be this.
WATCH: Megan Hunter reading an excerpt from The End We Start From
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