Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away. When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand. But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before. When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life?
WINNER OF THE FICTION PRIZE AT THE EAST ANGLIAN BOOK AWARDS
‘A terrific debut. Brave, unexpected… transfixing and captivating… full of hope, resilience and love.’ THE SUNDAY TIMES
“Holds the big within the small, the intimate within the epic” – Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies
‘A captivating read’ THE SUN
‘GORGEOUS and original and captivating’ – Marian Keyes, international bestselling author of Grown Ups
‘A story that is powerfully familiar and yet utterly original.’ – Afua Hirsch
‘A captivating read… (a) beautiful, surprising novel’ FABULOUS
‘A novel that has stayed with me for weeks afterwards . . . Perceptive and unflinching’ – Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist
‘A quiet, piercing contemplation on what really matters when it comes to the end of the world. Strange and beautiful’ – Abigail Dean, author of Girl A
‘Beautiful and harrowing but also optimistic and extremely moving . . . a truly arresting depiction of an unlikely relationship’ – Clover Stroud, author of The Wild Other
‘I didn’t want this book to end. It blew me away, and moved me beyond belief’ – Bryony Gordon, author of Mad Girl
IS A NEW BEGINNING.
Ruth is ignoring the news. Like most people, she has relationship problems, job stress, friends and family who need her. Ruth has a life.
But the news is about to catch up with Ruth, and her problems are going to be swept away…along with the rest of the world.
Only when the comforts and complications of her old existence are gone, does Ruth finally realise how she might be able to live to the fullest.