Summary and book reviews of The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde

The End of the Ocean

by Maja Lunde

The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde X
The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2020, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2021, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Herschbach
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About this Book

Book Summary

From the author of the number-one international bestseller The History of Bees, a captivating story of the power of nature and the human spirit that explores the threat of a devastating worldwide drought, witnessed through the lives of a father, a daughter, and a woman who will risk her life to save the future.

In 2019, seventy-year-old Signe sets sail alone on a hazardous voyage across the ocean in a sailboat. On board, a cargo that can change lives. Signe is haunted by memories of the love of her life, whom she'll meet again soon.

In 2041, David and his young daughter, Lou, flee from a drought-stricken Southern Europe that has been ravaged by thirst and war. Separated from the rest of their family and desperate to find them, they discover an ancient sailboat in a dried-out garden, miles away from the nearest shore. Signe's sailboat.

As David and Lou discover Signe's personal effects, her long ago journey becomes inexorably linked to their own.

An evocative tale of the search for love and connection, The End of the Ocean is a profoundly moving father daughter story of survival and a clarion call for climate action.

Chapter One
Signe

Ringfjorden, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway, 2017

Nothing stopped the water. You could follow it from the mountain to the fjord, from the snow that fell from the clouds and settled on the peaks to the mist that rose above the ocean and again became clouds.

The glacier grew every single winter. And every summer it melted, releasing drops, drops that became streams, which found their way down, driven by gravity, and the streams accumulated, becoming waterfalls, rivers.

We were two villages that shared a mountain and a glacier. We had them for as long as we could remember. One side of the mountain was a vertical wall, where the Sister Falls descended. They crashed straight down for 711 meters toward Lake Eide, a deep green body of water after which the village was named, Eidesdalen, and which provided fertile growing conditions there for animals and human beings.

Eidesdalen, Magnus's village.

They couldn't see the fjord in Eidesdalen; they weren't accustomed to having the...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The End of the Ocean, ably translated by Diane Oatley, returns to the theme of climate change, this time tackling the environmental threats to our most precious resource: water. A powerful reminder of what's at stake, The End of the Ocean is an unblinkered depiction of the devastating consequences of climate change and the price of inaction...continued

Full Review Members Only (731 words).

(Reviewed by Elisabeth Herschbach).

Media Reviews

New York Journal of Books
Chillingly frank in its discussion of our planet’s fragile ecological system and the fight to save our basic natural resources, Lunde’s two superbly written interlinking narratives are emotionally charged and the beautifully expressed underlying message of hope, love and forgiveness helps to soften the ominous realities that could befall humanity if nothing is done to reverse the bleak certainties of climate change.

Booklist
As the water crisis gets worse, the desperation echoes the extremities of Emily St. John Mandel's postapocalyptic Station Eleven. In a gripping narrative, Lunde portrays the profit-motivated decisions that created and are now exacerbating David's horrific existence. This is another brilliant call to arms from a vital contemporary novelist.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Two stories on the impact of climate change intersect in this thoughtful and suspenseful novel…Both halves of the story are convincingly detailed and quietly wrenching, and Lunde gradually and subtly draws them together to powerful effect.

Author Blurb Sam J. Miller, Nebula Award winning author of Blackfish City
If we somehow manage to save the planet from ourselves, it will be because of big-hearted beautiful books like this one, that make us feel the devastating cost of our current climate inaction. Not just the planet-wide consequences, but the human-scale ones as well. Gripping and powerful.

Author Blurb Christina Dalcher, national bestselling author of Vox
Lyrical, atmospheric, and eerily prescient, The End of the Ocean is my favorite kind of speculative fiction. Lunde expertly weaves together both a warning and a gorgeous literary work of love and survival that will leave you wishing for rain.

Reader Reviews

Liz Devlin

The End of the Ocean
I came upon The End of the Ocean by happy accident. This book was a captivating read from page one. The stories of the two main characters seemingly unrelated and their separate stories were both worth a book in themselves. The very gradual hints of ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Climate Change and Water Scarcity

Desert Landscape with People and Tree Alternating between two storylines set in the recent past and the very near future, Maja Lunde's The End of the Ocean is a chilling reminder of how alarmingly fast the effects of climate change can snowball out of control. In one storyline, set in 2017, Signe recounts the troubling signs already evident in her native Norway: The glaciers are disappearing, the ice on lakes is gone, sea levels are rising, the seasons are disrupted. By 2041, the time period of the book's second storyline, the planet has reached crisis point. Southern Europe is ravaged by drought. Wildfires rage out of control, brought on by the parched conditions. Water nations are at war with drought nations. Masses of people have been displaced.

The blighted future ...

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