The stunning new novel from Richard and Judy Book Club author Claire North: the voice behind the word-of-mouth bestseller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
***SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES / PFD YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2017***
'Funny, ambitious, immensely humane and full of philosophical panache' Sunday Times
'Extraordinary . . . wildly impressive" Lucy Hughes-Hallett, BBC Radio 4
'Wholly original and hauntingly beautiful' Kirkus
Sooner or later, death visits everyone. Before that, they meet Charlie.
Charlie meets everyone - but only once. Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. Either way, this is going to be the most important meeting of your life.
The End of the Day is the stunning new story from Claire North, the voice behind the word-of-mouth bestseller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.
'Reaffirms the passion and ambition that have made North such a consistently intriguing writer' Locus
'Every one of the chapters is shaped with philosophical panache' Guardian
'Compelling . . . keeps the surprises coming until the very end' San Francisco Chronicle
The End of the Day is the fourth novel by British author, Claire North. After his interview for a new job as the Harbinger of Death, Charlie was pretty sure he wouldn’t get the job, but apparently, the previous Harbinger thoughts he was suited to it, so he did. Charlie is just an ordinary human. Or perhaps not quite so ordinary: it does take someone a bit special to do this job. There’s a lot of travel involved, often at very short notice, but the staff in the Office at Milton Keynes make all the arrangements and keep his calendar up to date. And it should be no surprise that Death has an Office: it’s a very busy job and someone needs to keep on top of the schedule. Although it’s murder on relationships, one of the perks of Charlie’s job is getting to hear local music and adding to his collection of losing team football T shirts. Death comes to everyone and everything eventually, but quite often Charlie comes before. He explains to those he visits that he comes sometimes as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He often brings a gift, although he is usually unaware of its significance. He considers it a privilege to honour the living before the end comes. Many he visits are unsurprised; some are angry and try to refuse, but he explains that whether or not Charlie does his job, Death will come. Now and then, Charlie runs into the other Harbingers (Pestilence, Famine, War), but mostly it’s a fairly solitary job. People often ask him about Death, but his answers usually fail to satisfy, and occasionally provoke a more violent reaction. And just sometimes, Charlie can’t help getting involved, whether or not that is wise. Once again, North has come up with an original and very imaginative tale that often takes quite unexpected turns and naturally features, given the subject matter, some moments of rather dark humour. North easily captures the feel of the many locations to which Death sends the Harbinger. Some of Charlie’s encounters are bound to uplift, while other interactions, and the undercurrent represented by snippets of conversation and opinion, are definitely thought-provoking. It’s clever and interesting and there’s certainly a Terry Pratchett feel to it all. Another brilliant read that will have fans eager for more from this talented author.
Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated author whose debut novel was written when she was just fourteen years old. She is fast establishing herself as one of the most powerful and imaginative voices in modern fiction. Her first book published under the Claire North pen name was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The follow-up Touch received widespread critical acclaim and was described by the Independent as 'little short of a masterpiece'. Her next novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope won the 2017 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and her recent book The End of the Day has been shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. She lives in London.