Our Endless Numbered Days

Our Endless Numbered Days

Paperback - 2015
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Watch for Claire Fuller's newest novel, Swimming Lessons, coming January 2016

Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize for Best First Novel

"Both shocking and subtle, brilliant and beautiful, a poised and elegant work that recalls the early work of Ian McEwan in the delicacy of its prose and the way that this is combined with some very dark undertones." -- Desmond Elliott Prize Jury

In the tradition of Winter's Bone and The Outlander, Our Endless Numbered Days is a powerful and mysterious debut about a father and his eight-year-old daughter who abandon their family to live alone in the forest for nine years.

In 1976 Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children, and listening to her mother's grand piano. But her life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions to prepare for the end of the world, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. She is not seen again for another nine years.

In 1985, Peggy has returned to the family home. But what happened to her in the forest? And why -- and how -- has she come back now? Our Endless Numbered Days is the most unputdownable and extraordinary novel you will read this year.

Publisher: Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2015
ISBN: 9781770898240
Branch Call Number: FIC FUL
FIC FUL
Characteristics: 291 p. ; 22 cm

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e
empbee
Jul 31, 2017

A beautifully written story with veiled mystery and unexpected ending. You can't put it done. Some of the "facts" are highly unlikely but it still is a great read.

e
EmilyEm
Jul 09, 2017

'Our Endless Numbered Days' is a haunting story of loss and survival as young Peggy is taken by her father to an isolated Bavarian cabin and told they have crossed The Great Divide and are the only people left on earth. Music, notably Franz Liszt's etude known as ‘La Campenella’, plays a big part in the story.

One included book club question asks if Peggy is an unreliable narrator as the story is told from her point of view. I couldn’t decide and this author seems fine leaving lose ends at her book’s conclusion. Although very imaginative, found unsettling.

u
uncommonreader
Jun 18, 2017

Although there are a few missteps, this is an enjoyable and page-turning read. Perhaps the message is that madness is the result when one lives without other people and community,

k
kitten1110
May 30, 2017

I think this book deserves 5 stars because although it can be engrossing and disturbing at times, it shows a realistic point of view from a young girl all the way into her adulthood.

stewaroby Sep 04, 2015

Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. Described by Louise Doughty, one of the judges, as "both shocking and subtle, brilliant and beautiful, a poised and elegant work thatt recalls the early work of Ian McEwan int the delicacy of its prose and the way that this is combined with some very dark undertones."

u
Urbano
Aug 09, 2015

4.5 stars. An engrossing and disturbing read. Couldn't put it down and it's lingered in my mind since I finished.

w
wyenotgo
Aug 03, 2015

Claire Fuller is certainly a brilliant writer and the subject matter research that had to have gone into this book is impressive. She never falters in speaking to us in the young girl's voice, even succeeding in subtly adjusting her persona from that of a seemingly normal eight-year-old to a severely relationship-challenged teenager. The story is tightly controlled, on the one hand horrific and at the same time lyrical in its depiction of the pristine natural world inhabited by the delusional father and captive daughter. As an exploration of obsession descending into madness, it is brilliantly done, calling to mind "Crime and Punishment" or Wedekind's "Lulu" -- high class company indeed!
So why do I assign it only two stars? Simply because despite all its merit, I personally found the book downright unpleasant to read; I realize this is a personal prejudice that many others may not share. The subject matter is deeply disturbing, illustrating as it does the unspeakably selfish, cruel things that parents so often do to their children. It's a distressing fact that even in our supposedly enlightened western societies, until the parents' behavior or the child's desperate injury (or even death) becomes glaringly obvious and the damage is so severe that the child never fully recovers, there are no means available to hold parents accountable for their actions and no court, no government authority, no social structure, no law enforcement body is empowered to take the sides of abused children . It's bad enough that James, besides being a useless layabout seems to have no regrets at destroying his innocent daughter's life just to pursue his cockeyed survivalist project-- we might cut him some slack on account of his outright looniness; but the mother, Ute has nearly as much to answer for and no such defence of insanity. Knowing that her husband is a wingnut surrounded by a circle of fellow-loonies, she trots off abroad to pursue her career, leaving the girl in charge of that lot. When her children wish to learn to play the piano, she forbids them to touch her precious Bosendorfer but refuses to get them into music lessons. And (no spoiler here) there's a great deal more to lay at her doorstep, as becomes clear later.
So, for those who have the stomach for it, this can be a compelling read. For others including myself, it might be just as well to give it a pass.

v
vv8
Jul 04, 2015

Lovely writing, atmospheric forest scenes, and deeply disturbed characters... several of the components that make this a top-notch debut novel!

4
4catsdogs
Jun 03, 2015

This book is amazing. I hope she keeps on writing, her books will be in great demand.

p
Persnickety77
Apr 09, 2015

Groan. This was way too easy to figure out, and way too boring to ignore how obvious it was. It's more of a YA novel than an adult novel. Yawn.

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kitten1110
May 30, 2017

kitten1110 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99

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