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The End of the Day Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"A beautiful, if occasionally uncomfortable, read that resists being labeled with any particular genre."―Library Journal (starred review) on The End of the Day
"Wholly original and hauntingly beautiful. North is a writer to watch."―Kirkus on The End of the Day
"Thrilling and moving, The End of the Day is a fascinating exploration of what makes us human -- and a riveting journey through life, and death."― The Bookbag on The End of the Day
"[Claire's] writing is poetic and accessible, imaginative and jam-packed full of knowledge . . . making The End of the Day a thoroughly engaging and astute read from start to finish"―SciFiNow on The End of the Day
"North is [a] consistently intriguing writer."―Locus on The End of the Day
"[T]his is an inquiry into modern human existence. Philosophical questions are threaded through the electrifying plot. Even the protagonist's darkness alias is "why." Reminiscent of William Gibson's best work, North leads us into a brilliant world of elite but mindless humans, and shines a sharp light on what a rare gift it is to be able to think for oneself and what the consequences of it are."―RT Book Reviews on The Sudden Appearance of Hope
"Beautifully written, with a protagonist who is both tragic and heroic, the novel is remarkably powerful and deeply memorable, the latest in a string of terrific books from this newly emerged star in the genre-blending universe."
―Booklist (Starred Review) on The Sudden Appearance of Hope
"North has established a reputation for tense, dense, science fiction/fantasy-inflected thrillers that defy facile explanations... Simultaneously a tense conspiracy caper, a haunting meditation on loneliness and a brutally cynical examination of modern media... Well-paced, brilliant and balanced."―New York Times on The Sudden Appearance of Hope
"Touch is a story within a story within a story and it's one of the cleverest, most compelling books I've read in a long time. The intoxicating voice, ingenious premise and intricate plot will have readers clamoring for a copy. Touch has bestseller written all over it and Claire North is one hell of a writer."―C. L. Taylor, author of The Accident on Touch
"I don't say this lightly but The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is one of the top ten books I've ever read."―James Dashner, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Maze Runner on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
"An astonishing re-invention of the time travel narrative. Bold, magical and masterful."―M. R. Carey, author of The Girl with all the Gifts on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
"Wonderful novel...held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself. Beautifully written and structured...a remarkable book."―Booklist (Starred Review) on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
"A masterful literary thriller."―io9 on The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
About the Author
Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated author whose first book was written when she was just fourteen years old. She went on to write several other novels in various genres, before publishing her first major work as Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, in 2014. It was a critically acclaimed success, receiving rave reviews and an Audie nomination, and was included in the Washington Post's Best Books of the Year list. Her most recent novel, Touch, was also in the Washington Post's Best Books of the Year, in 2015.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a Harbinger, Charlie doesn’t have to inflict any horror or suffering. He’s not a sadist, albeit his job involves a fair bit of masochism. His job is to go to people before Death visits them in order to give them some memento or trinket that reflects something important to or about their life. Then he listens to them and serves, as he says repeatedly, as a Witness or a Bridge to Honor Their Lives.
Death is a nice guy, also. Death visits people, particularly interesting people and listens to them. Sometimes Death just listens and goes away. Death seems quite reasonable. Death doesn’t even have to appear in a frightening guise, unless the subject expects to see Death in a scary guise. (Charlie sees Death as an elderly, well-dressed man.)
The book is structured around Charlie’s jobs. One time he goes on an epic trek to the glaciers of Greenland. Another time, he wanders around Nigeria, helping out a lesbian comic and her partner, who are facing prejudice. Still another time, he wanders around the American South visiting racists.
The book is well-written, the stories are engaging, but the structure of the book is repetitive. After about half-way through the book, however, I began to wonder when the character development and the plot would kick in.
Charlie doesn’t change throughout the book. He loses his girlfriend and accepts that with resignation. He acquires a girlfriend and accepts that without enthusiasm. He gets kidnapped and tortured several times, and while that makes him unhappy and hurt, he deals with it as part of the job, learning that while Death will retaliate against those who try to coerce Death, merely getting revenge for torturing Charlie is not in the cards. Charlie crosses paths with Patrick Fuller, who wants to be his friend, but nothing happens there. In fact, we never find out what purpose Patrick plays in the book – he’s just there. Charlie remains introspective and mildly depressed from start to finish.
Likewise, I thought a plot might kick in at some point, but it didn’t. Charlie has jobs and he does his jobs and will keep doing his jobs, as assigned, because he is a witness and a bridge and he is honored to honor the living. Seems reasonable.
My three-star rating is not to indicate that I did not like the book. I liked the book. I liked the stories and the characters. However, I don’t think that I would recommend it generally, although I can see how the introspective quality of the book – with just enough leftwing self-righteousness about Global Warming, Racism, and Persecution of Homosexuals – would be attractive to some. As for me, I was waiting for character development and a plot to kick in.
It's brilliant and beautiful and tragic and heartbreaking and painful and joyful and utterly, utterly heartwrenching. It flows and ebbs and just when you thing it can't get more brutal it does. It makes you complicit but allows for a measure of peace.
Claire North was an automatic "to buy" for me prior to this, but I might just start buying the hardcover in bulk to give out as presents.
Charles applied for the job of Harbinger of Death. He is single, has a girl friend and he has all of the emotions, problems, and background of any common person. But...he travels the world to either warn or indicate the possibility of death to his clients. He brings them a small gift determined by his employer. He sometimes crosses paths with other Harbingers or Death herself.
The writing is very powerful with an open poetic style which appears often. In Charles travels, he sees and experiences, many of the problems and awful events in the world. He travels to the ice covered north to warn a person of death and directly sees the results of global warming. He travels to various places in Europe to see the results of the mass murders of people through ethnic cleansing. When in Africa he sees the effects of the rules against homosexuality and a male dominated society. The author uses her character and his job to bring out the ills in the world, and how they are or have affected people directly.
She does a great job winding the story line through these topics, and brings you up close and involved with individuals rather than just ideas. The book at times is funny, often soul searching and sometimes brutal. Charles is a solid character and very believable. This is definitely a one of a kind bit of writing and for most, worth a read.