The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

Review by The Wild Book Spy

Zooming in on this story of a first-time mother as she is forced to leave her London home  with partner R and baby Z, due to an apocalyptic flood I was instantly fascinated. The Mother experiences all the drama and distress that such an escape entails but is equally focused on the gentle development of her little son as he grows and thrives. Their survival is reliant on her own determination and to friendship in unlikely circumstances as her partner's presence fades as time progresses….

This tale is almost a thought poem and I would suggest best read in one or two sittings. Much of the language is very lyrical, flowing forward enticingly but avoids, what I personally find to be, the irritating self-congratulatory metaphoric style of some current fictions which may be clever but somehow only distracts rather than enhances.

“Any chance they get, my dreams unfurl in their allotted small space. They are origami, they are Japanese pod hotels. They fit it all in."

"The idea came as a miniaturized image, a crisp packet in the oven. It is all I need.”

The experience of first time motherhood is well-counterpointed by the disastrous flooding and its inevitable effects which has compelled escape Northwards. This small gem is an interesting exploration of a dream-like state – keenly describing a journey moving within  the mythic waters that surround the Mother, countered with the sturdy realism of migration and the needs of her growing child.

“We take their nappies off and let them kick, their legs like cloth in old paintings, every line as clear and stark as a line of ink.

There is nothing but this, their small bodies, time sliding now, losing form, turning one day into the next.”

There are certain aspects of the narrative which given the circumstances depicted seem less than likely, however, with such an imaginatively drawn concept perhaps a little magical realism is more than appropriate.

An engaging read

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