Excerpt from The End We Start From by Megan Hunter, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The End We Start From

by Megan Hunter

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter X
The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2017, 160 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2018, 144 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1

I am hours from giving birth, from the event I thought would never happen to me, and R has gone up a mountain.

When I text him, he sends his friend S to look after me, and starts down the mountain.

S is scared, and has brought J.

J is also scared, and has brought beer.

They watch me from a corner of the room as though I am an unpredictable animal, a lumbering gorilla with a low-slung belly and suspicious eyes. Occasionally they pass me a banana.

They try to put Match of the Day on. I growl. I growl

more and more, and finally I am waterless, the pool of myself spreading slowly past my toes.

They flap like small birds around the water, they perch on my giant head, they speak of kettles and hot towels.

I tell them I have to push, and they back away, reaching

for their phones.

* * *

At first there was only the sea, only the sky. From the sky came a rock, which dropped deep into the sea. A thick slime covered the rock, and from this slime words grew.

* * *

Before I dilate, we agree: R will get his two nights in nature. He will climb and trek, camp and forage.

I am nearly as wide as I am tall. In the supermarket, people avoid me. Sometimes, in narrow hallways, I get stuck.

All by itself, the head balls into place.

* * *

We have planned a water birth, with whale music, and hypnotism, and perhaps even an orgasm.

My usual cynicism has been chased away by the fear of pain, of losing control, of all things bloody and stretching.

The moment of birth looms ahead of me like the loss of my virginity did, as death does. The inevitable, tucked and waiting out there somewhere.

Once, when I was about eight, I looked at a telegraph pole as hard as I could. I made a mind-photo, urged myself to remember it that night.

When I did, the rest of the day seemed like it had never happened. I terrified myself that I would do this at the moment of death, that I could trick my whole life away.

When I was a child I thought I had been chosen for our times. The ending times. The creeping times.

* * *

I am thirty-two weeks pregnant when they announce it: the water is rising faster than they thought. It is creeping faster. A calculation error. A badly plotted movie, sensors out at sea.

We hide under the duvet with a torch like children. I ask R if he still would have done it. If he had known.

He doesn't answer.

He shines the torch up into the duvet and makes his fingers into ducks. I decide to take that as a yes.

* * *

I am a geriatric primigravida, but I don't look it.

We have leather sofas. R spills takeaway on them and grins: wipe clean.

I am thirty-eight weeks when they tell us we will have to move. That we are within the Gulp Zone.

I say whoever thought of that name should be boiled in noodles. R spends all night on the same property website. It is loading very slowly.

* * *

Man came from a germ. From this germ he was fashioned, from clot to bones to thick flesh. He stood up on one end, a new creation.

* * *

J phones an ambulance and S looks out of the window palely.

I gaze at the wooden floor. I have never noticed how beautiful it is before.

It is perfectly dusk-coloured, and the whorls are rising like dark little planets through its glow.

Between the waves of disembowelling wrench the world is shining. I feel like Aldous Huxley on mescaline. I am drenched in is-ness.

* * *

When I am thirty-nine weeks they tell us we don't have to move, actually; it was all a mistake.

  • 1
  • 2

The End We Start From © 2017 by Megan Hunter. First published 2017 by Picador, a UK imprint of Pan Macmillan. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, Grove Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Floods in Myth and Legend

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Winter Soldier
    The Winter Soldier
    by Daniel Mason
    Imagine the thousands of confounding cases doctors face routinely for which diagnoses are hard to ...
  • Book Jacket: Brother
    Brother
    by David Chariandy
    Brother is the brief, moving account of how a single, tragic moment in time can alter the course of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Spy of Venice
    The Spy of Venice
    by Benet Brandreth
    Benet Brandreth's delightfully diverting historical thriller brings the Bard to vibrant life. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

A crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    French Exit
    by Patrick deWitt

    A brilliant and darkly comic novel from bestselling author Patrick deWitt.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.