The End of the Day by Claire North
|The End of the Day by Claire North|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: 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.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 432||Date: April 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
At the end of the day, Death visits everyone. Right before that, Charlie does. You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone, or at the scene of a traffic accident. Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole - he gets everywhere. From jungles to deserts to tundra, you may come across Charlie. Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says? Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.
Claire North is the pseudonym of author Catherine Webb, and under the name of North she's written the hugely successful The Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Touch, and The Sudden Appearance of Hope. North is a hugely creative author – her ideas are always startlingly original, and feature gripping, twisting and unique plots. The End of the Day is no exception. In fact, it may be my favourite of hers – as a wonderfully original premise is blended with remarkable insights into the nature of living and humanity – making this a read that entertains just as much as it moves. Charlie, the lead character, manages to be a relatable everyman throughout – struggling with work and romance as much as all of us have no doubt done at some point. The fact that he works as the Harbinger of Death doesn't change that – and in fact Charlie's relatable ordinariness will no doubt make the book an easier read for those who may grapple with the slightly supernatural concepts at play here. Charlie's relationships all seem incredibly genuine – those with his girlfriend, boss and co-workers, and form a nice backbone for the book. In fact, Charlie's humanity is a plot point in itself – helping him empathise with the characters he meets through work, and also helping the reader connect with the various people that Charlie visits – their brief appearances made all the more vivid and affecting by seeing them through Charlie's eyes.
The fact that this book contains Death, Famine, Pestilence and War as characters may put some people off, but don't let it – yes, there are some incredibly difficult concepts at play here that are handled deftly and beautifully. But the main theme of this book is humanity – the things we do, the lives we lead, and the way we treat each other. Charlie steps in and out of lives – sometimes at the end, sometimes at the beginning of new chapters for both people and entire societies. His care and respect is also something that author North has taken when writing these situations too – different cultures and belief systems are dealt with sensitively, and the many different strands come together to form an incredibly powerful tale about life, living, love, and death - I was moved to tears at more than one point. It's baffling how many concepts and ideas are brought up and dealt with here – North has a skilled hand and a sharp mind. It's definitely North's best book yet, and one I think has really pushed the author up into an entirely new level altogether, and I've no doubt that this powerful book will do very well indeed. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy. For further reading I'm going to recommend The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. As in The End of the Day, high concepts are humanised by clever characters and an incredibly skilled author.
You can read more book reviews or buy The End of the Day by Claire North at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The End of the Day by Claire North at Amazon.com.
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