ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Article published on September 10, 2015.

I’m behind the curve on this book which has already won the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015 for new fiction. It’s only because my colleague Mel Mitchell was so keen that we’ve been lucky enough to secure Claire as a speaker at our readers day on October 3rd. Otherwise I might never have read this remarkable book. Having met Claire in a coffee shop in Winchester she was kind enough to send me a reading copy of her book and . . . well, wow!

I’m not sure I understood it all but wow is my first reaction. Slightly crazy father, James, takes his 8 year old daughter off to die Hütte for some undeclared reason. There is a back story about wanting to be prepared for catastrophic world events but this is Highgate, London in ’76 and I can’t remember much international posturing of that magnitude back then. Only that it was that incredibly hot summer that went on and on.

No matter, for 9 years mother and daughter each think the other is dead. I’m wary of trying to summarise the plot more in case I give too much away but the writing is lyrical without being too airy fairy, in fact it’s gruesome at times. And it has a big psychological climax as good as many thrillers I’ve read. Highly recommended.

Thank heavens I’m going to have the chance to ask Claire in person:

1 What German connections she has.

2 If she’s related to Ray Mears?

3 Has she ever deconstructed a piano?

This and many other questions will hopefully be answered in three Saturday’s time.

Guy Pringle

September 10th, 2015

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

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