A few days ago I finished reading Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, another one I borrowed from the library. From Goodreads:
Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly begins to unravel the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.
I loved this one! It got off to a slightly slow start for me but once they were in the cabin I was hooked. Fuller’s prose is gentle and lyrical, subtly showing how memories can be tricky (we’re in Peggy’s head for the entirety of the book), and things may not always be how they seem. I loved how music played an important role in the story’s relationships between Peggy and each of her parents, and the descriptions of nature are vivid and wonderful.
Peggy was such a heartbreaking character. She was so trusting and innocent, with essentially nine years of her life spent in isolation thinking everyone and everything she loved has been destroyed. Both her parents are interesting if not entirely likable, and there could be great discussion about their actions and behaviors, to each other and how they effected Peggy, in a book club setting.
I had a hard time putting this down. Fuller manages to keep the story from becoming too melodramatic or sensational, while still throwing in curve balls in the form of simple yet shattering sentences that compel you to go on. I thought a lot about trust, conspiracy theories, innocence, and complex familial relationships while reading Our Endless Numbered Days. I highly recommend it!
Read from June 6 to 11, 2015.