Readers looking for another end of days, survivalist tale with the same trite conclusions will be out of luck with British author Claire Fuller’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days.
Peggy Hillcoat is taken by her survivalist father, James, from their home in London when she is 8 years old. The year is 1976, and she is told that that rest of the world is destroyed, and her mother is dead. James takes Peggy away from everyone and everything she has ever known, to a hut in the middle of a European forest. Our Endless Numbered Days is the story of her life of survival there.
Fuller, who worked at a marketing agency before becoming a writer, uses her sharp storytelling to give the reader a divergent take on post-apocalypse survival. Peggy’s life in the woods is not simply a struggle against nature, as one might imagine, but also a story of a child trying to make sense of growing up in isolation.
The novel alternates between the years that Peggy and her father live in the woods and 1985, when 17-year-old Peggy is back at home and coming to terms with the lies her father has told. Perhaps my favorite part of the book is the end (now I sound trite), because Fuller once again defies reader expectations. This provocative book will inspire questions and discussion, and leave readers eager to see what Fuller does next.