cover image The End We Start From

The End We Start From

Megan Hunter. Grove, $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2689-4

The postapocalyptic literary novel is currently in vogue almost to the point of redundancy, but Hunter’s slim yet sharp debut offers a level of precision and interiority rarely seen in the genre. The novel opens with an unnamed narrator giving birth to her first child, known only as Z, just as a mysterious and devastating flood overtakes London. But rather than focus on the specifics of the catastrophe, the story instead becomes an investigation of the tumultuous internal life of a new mother. The scaffolding of the apocalypse narrative—hiding out from potential threats while also endlessly searching for supplies, trying to establish normalcy in the face of the unknown as sacrifices and forays into dangerous territory become increasingly necessary—serve more as a backdrop to the strangeness of a new human life. The narrator forges relationships with other survivors as she moves from place to place in search of safety and community, but the journey toward recognizing the world for what it has become is made all the more poignant as she begins to see it through the eyes of Z, a child who has never known it to be anything other than what it is now. Told in a voice that is by turns meditative, desperate, and hopeful, this novel showcases Hunter’s considerable talents and range. (Nov.)