Good Reading : April 2017
GOOD READING APRIL 2017 37 GENERAL FICTION RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG The End of the Day Claire North Charlie’s job comes with a pension and a good salary. He travels all over the world and meets a lot of people, but it can be dangerous – he’s been kidnapped eight times, imprisoned five times, and held at gunpoint 12 times. What does Charlie do? He’s the Harbinger of Death. Charlie’s arrival at a person’s door doesn’t necessarily mean that Death is imminent: he might simply be sent as a warning, or a courtesy. And Death doesn’t necessarily mean the end of life–itmightbethedeathofanideaorawayoflife.Hehas met the last speaker of an ancient language, pursued a scientist across Greenland’s melting ice, witnessed the last performance of an Israeli Palestinian orchestra, been threatened by a Russian oligarch, and accompanied a black man to meet a Klansman in America’s Deep South. With such an original premise, I expected to enjoy The End of the Day much more than I did. The main problem is Charlie himself. For a man who voluntar ily applied for such an onerous job, he is woefully naive and inarticulate about what it entails and about its effect on the lives of those he meets. Reflecting on his visit to a school at which a gunman later opened fire, he admits, ‘I don’t know what I’m there for.’ This is a question I found myself asking repeatedly, but an answer eluded me. What is the point of Charlie’s work? His encounters with the human faces of war, racism, greed, ignorance, climate change, extremism, homophobia and globalism read more like a superficial checklist of the tyrannies of the modern world than the profound comment on society that the author strives for. I usually look forward to finding out how a novel will end, but in this case I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. ★★ Orbit $29.99 Reviewed by Heather Lunney The End of the Day Claire North Call over the world and meets a lot of people, but it can be dangerous – he’s been kidnapped eight times, imprisoned five times, and held at gunpoint 12 times. What does Charlie do? He’s the Harbinger of Death. door doesn’t necessarily mean that For the first time in English, the lyrical, bestselling German Book Prize winner. LUTZ SEILER About Claire North Claire North is the pen name of Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. She has lived all her life in London and likes to walk through the areas she writes about in her books, which include Bethnal Green, Clerkenwell and the banks of the River Thames. Catherine is also a fan of big cities and graffiti-spotting.