Our Endless Numbered Days, by Claire Fuller

Publisher: Fig Tree | Publication date: 26th February 2015 | Version: Hardback (own copy)

“What’s a Hutte?” I asked. “A magical place in the forest,” my father said with a catch in his voice. “Our very own little cabin, with wooden walls, and wooden floors, and wooden shutters at the windows…”

Little Peggy would have quite innocently followed in her father’s footsteps to the end of the world and back again. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined what that could come to mean…

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller 04.03.15

This is a story that will linger with you, long after you’ve closed the cover…

Her keen survivalist father had allowed her to camp at the bottom of the garden of their house in London, live in a rickety tent and cook over an open fire. He’d even shown her how to live off the land.

With her famous Germanic pianist mother, Ute, away from home, she had left her husband in sole charge of their daughter, which meant that Peggy could enjoy this ‘outdoor’ life even more; not having to bathe, foraging for food and the mock drills in case of dire emergency.

At just ten years old she unwittingly exchanged the comforts of her home in London for a remote and uninviting wilderness, a place her father explained would be a haven for their family and that her mother would be joining them soon.

But their short stay in ‘die Hutte’ stretched into nine long years and differed greatly from the sanctuary her father had promised.

There was just the two of them, as her father cruelly told her that the rest of the world did not exist anymore and that they were the only survivors. Trusting him as she did, she believed every word he spoke, that is until she became mesmerised by a mysterious wild man called Rueben whose name had been etched in their cabin…

Leaving home as a child in 1976 and returning as a young woman in 1985, Peggy has to confront a whole new set of challenges. Even though the story moves backwards and forwards through both time periods it’s seamlessly blended.

This incredible portrayal of Peggy’s difficult journey into adulthood under ‘gut-kicking’ circumstances is written in the most incredible way. Even with its disturbing undercurrent, which started as a trickle being dripped into the chapters, it’s a book I would highly recommend. I just had to keep on reading until I discovered how she arrived home again, if she would be safe and what would happen to her.

It’s one of those books you will read that will hold your attention until the very last page, and will continue to linger in your mind long after you’ve closed its haunting cover.

Rating: 5/5

You can follow the author on Twitter: @ClaireFuller2


Not Forgetting the Whale, by John Ironmonger

Publisher: W & N | Publication date: 12th February 2015 | Edition: Hardback (own copy)

Firstly, a taster of the sort of comment you will enjoy between the pages…

…they went to bed perfectly healthy and woke up dead…

Not Forgetting the Whale cover

Not Forgetting the Whale – gorgeous artwork, excellent writing.

Not Forgetting the Whale is the third John Ironmonger book I have read. As the bar had already been set high with the others (The Coincidence Authority & The Notable Brain of Maximillian Ponder) each deserving 5 stars, this had a lot to live up to.

From the moment I started reading I knew this would not disappoint. There’s a real talent to capturing the elements of human nature to perfection and creating what I can only describe as a modern day fable of sorts, and this writer has oodles of it.

In this story Joe Haak is an analyst in the city. He developed a computer program that could ‘predict’ the effects of global events on the stock market. However, when the machine predicted other events that could affect human civilisation as we know it, with a little help from a whale the analyst finds himself in the Cornish village of St Piran (or rather the villagers discover Joe washed up on the beach in just his birthday suit, much to their surprise!).

In their own unique ways, the villagers welcome this odd visitor from the city until he slowly becomes part of their close-knit community.

After a global pandemic breaks out, various trials come along to test St Piran’s resolve and Joe has to face the reality of the machine’s prediction – will people rally together, or will everyone have to fend for themselves? More importantly, how will Joe fair in these trying times and can he fulfil a promise he made years earlier?

The whale on the cover of this enchanting book makes significant appearances throughout the story, alongside John Ironmonger’s unique humour and dialogue that once again weaves its magical thread throughout.

This is a wonderful book that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys a heart-warming tale, where you can discover the often hidden traits of ordinary people without anyone wagging a finger in your face from the moral high-ground.

I LOVE this writer’s work.

Rating: Superb.  5/5

You can follow the author on Twitter @jwironmonger