book review: The End We Start From by Megan Hunter


Grove Atlantic, 2017

The End We Start From is Station Eleven meets Exit West – a literary soft apocalypse refugee story set in a near-future Great Britain. Except, it’s a pared down, sort of anemic version of both of those novels. It was well written, but for the most part left me cold.

This novella doesn’t use names and doesn’t fixate on details – instead it’s about humanity, the connections we make, the ways we adapt to change. Although Megan Hunter does an impressive job at delving into these themes in so short a story, there was too much left unsaid for me to be able to really connect with this on an emotional level. London is submerged underwater, the unnamed narrator gives birth to a baby, she and her husband are separated, and I should care, but I don’t.

Hunter’s prose is worth mentioning as it is undoubtedly this novella’s biggest strength. It’s poetic and lyrical, incisive and creative… but strong prose isn’t enough to elevate this past 3 stars. Bottom line: I finished this book and thought ‘what exactly was the point of that?’ There just wasn’t anything particularly unique or innovative about this story. Reading these 160 pages wasn’t an entirely unpleasant way to spend my time, but I can’t say it made much of an impression on me. I have a feeling that when I look through the books I read in 2017 at the end of the year, I’m going to see this one and say ‘wait, what was that again?’

Thank you to Netgalley, Grove Atlantic, and Megan Hunter for the electronic copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

6 thoughts on “book review: The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

  1. I’ve got this sitting on my shelves. I’ve heard a few people say it’s almost like prose poetry and that the writing is definitely the strong point, like you said. So I’m hoping if I keep my expectations for the plot itself in check I could still enjoy it… I’ll be interested to see how I get on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is definitely the right way to approach it! I’ll be curious to see what you think too. All I’d really heard about it was that it was good, so I don’t think I went into it with the right expectations… or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for something this literary and introspective today.

      Liked by 1 person

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