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Come to the Edge

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  200 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
She didn't mean to become a revolutionary. She thought she was going on a rural retreat.

Take one narrator looking to 'get away from it all'. Put her in a shambolic, draughty farmhouse in a scenic valley with two psychotic goats and a village-full of empty second homes and scores of poor and elderly people with nowhere to go...

ADD one widowed survivalist called Cassandra Wh
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published July 12th 2012 by Quercus
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May 09, 2013 Antonomasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Granta
[4.5] Wow. I seriously underestimated this novel. Just because it has a comic tone that's very easy to read, and begins with the female first-person narrator's husband leaving her - whereupon she abandons her perfect consumer lifestyle and drone job with absurd lack of difficulty - doesn't mean it's chicklit. There is a strapping younger man who turns up later, but as a lust-interest he's only relevant on about 5 pages out of 300. What this actually is, is a manic political satire.

The nameless
Arielle Walker
Oct 30, 2016 Arielle Walker rated it liked it
Shelves: stand-alone
Brilliantly bonkers. I have to admit, the idea of filling empty houses with well-deserving citizens is appealing, especially in Auckland right now (oh yeah, if you haven't heard - we're in the middle of a housing crisis). I just hope whatever solution is found here doesn't play out quite so dramatically as in Come to the Edge!
Vicky (A Backpack Full of Adventures)
My original review:

Come to the Edge for me was one of those books that you instantly fall in love with. I was looking for a breezy, entertaining read the other day and thus I decided to pick it up, not having the faintest idea what to expect. Well, here’s what you can expect: a quirky, sarcastic and hilarious duo, a most unusual plot and roaring with laughter at 1 a.m when everyone else is sleeping and even though you need to get up for work in 6 hours, y
Cassandra White, you are amazing. What I wouldn't give to be your friend, you crazy bitch.

It all starts when the useless husband of the unknown narrator cheats on her and she has to find something else to fill her life with (other than pretty furniture from Ikea). She happens to answer an advertisement to help out a widow at her farm and ends up in hell where every day goes something like this: "I go outside again and as if nature is avenging the death of an innocent if foolish beetle it pisses
May 04, 2013 Christine rated it liked it
I bought this book on an impulse, and because I've used Appolinaires quote many times in my professional career, because people are so afraid of risk taking.
This book certainly addresses the "big" issues such as risk taking, the meaning of self, other, and how one defines these concepts, finds personal meaning (or not) in them and then finds a way to integrate these aspects of self and live authentically. All set in a world that is riven with iniquity at all levels: financial,social, psychologic
Haydn Morris
Jun 04, 2013 Haydn Morris rated it really liked it
I have to admit this is not the type/style of book I usually read. I'm an historical fiction, historical fact type of reader.
I browsed this book in my local library and something about the summary drew me in. A perfect easy read for my impending holiday I thought and so it turned out to be.
The writing style and characterisation of the main protagonists made the pages fly by and I have to say the main plot hit a chord with me.
As someone who grew up in North Wales in the 1970's where holiday homes
Samantha Fraenkel
I had quite literally just read Cold Comfort Farm and my goodness the timing of this book coming into my life could not have been more perfect. Imagine Cold Comfort Farm, being a satirical pastoral novel, and mix it with Where'd You Go, Bernadette, with it's zany leading lady and you have Come to the Edge, a wonderful dark comedy by Joanna Kavenna. I had such a good time reading this book and found myself laughing in delight at many of the unnamed narrators observations and thoughts. Also, I kin ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Myownhideaway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Me ha gustado incluso más de lo que esperaba. Empecé sin expectativas, porque no había leído ni una sola reseña sobre este libro ni sobre ningún otro libro de la autora. Desde el primer momento me consiguió atrapar la prosa y la protagonista. He conectado más con la coprotagonista, Cassandra, la propietaria de la granja,que con la protagonista; porque es un personaje que me ha ENCANTADO: su forma tan excéntrica de ser, sus comentarios, sus ideales, su modo de vida... vaya, una tía rara de los
Oct 08, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Woman’s husband cheats and leaves her. Woman abandons her life of bourgeois striving and late-capitalist plenitude for hard work and simple living in the country. Then woman and her survivalist frenemy undertake a scheme to “resettle” the local elderly and/or poor population into un-lived-in second homes. Oldest story in the world, right?

I found the narrator of Come to the Edge weirdly relatable. As someone who once left a museum in Vienna feeling huffy about the Habsburgs’ collection of silver
David Kenvyn
Jun 22, 2013 David Kenvyn rated it really liked it
A female Jack Parlabane from any of the Brookmyre novels meets A female Blott from Tom Sharpe in a completely insane version of Cold Comfort Farm. There is no point in trying to explain the relentless remorselessness of the plot especially as it would spoil your fun reading this book. Just think of Margo Channing in "All about Eve" - "fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride".
Jane Goldsmith
Dec 08, 2013 Jane Goldsmith rated it liked it
I loved the first half of it but then it kind of disintegrated into too much absurdity. The character of Cassandra was a little too unlikeable. But then again - there are women like her around - totally stark raving bonkers. And it did make me think about complacency.
Dec 11, 2013 Gioia rated it it was ok
Boring, boring, boring.
I have no idea why I read the whole thing. Maybe beacause I paid for it.
But I'm selling the book as fast as I can.
Apr 23, 2016 Stuart rated it really liked it
Summary Of The Story:


In 'Come To The Edge' we follow an unnamed woman who up until her husband left her had been happy in their perfected but 'perverted' way of life. She had it all, a nice house, kitchen appliances, an office job, a TV and even a bath. But when her other half leaves her for a younger women as she apparently cannot bear children for him, the narrator of this story answers a wanted ad to help a 'Cassandra White' on her farm and takes her leave up to the nort
Apr 22, 2015 Chloe rated it it was ok
The novel is about a women who has lived a mediocre, comfortable, middle-class life but when she receives some bad news she denounces her old life and goes to live with a widow in rural England who lives a far more...natural life to say the least.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, I love satire, especially British satire. This was also a book that I had picked up in an Oxfam shop based completely based on its cover and it had been on my bookshelf for over a year now.

For about 12
Lauren Kennedy

I didn't know what to expect from this book. I went in to it completely open minded and not knowing much; I'm glad because after reading the synopsis I realise it doesn't do much for this book.

The first 100 pages or so was very enjoyable, I was laughing out loud now and again at Cassandra's crazy-ness and at the narrator. After that, it went a little downhill. It was all very crazy and dramatic and I didn't really know what was happening. I think the whole thing about the empty houses and the 'p
Nov 30, 2014 Storyheart rated it really liked it
When the narrator's placid, materialistic suburban life is shattered by her husband trading her in for a new and improved model, she throws her habitual caution to the wind and answers an ad: widow seeks companion for help around the farm.

She arrives expecting a bucolic farm holiday spent with a sweet old lady in a cardigan only to find out the widow is a 6 foot tall, fiery red-headed warrior goddess with revolution on her mind. The widow warrior doesn't believe in government, state education, p
Chuk Yong
May 26, 2015 Chuk Yong rated it it was amazing
Our heroine is an unlikely and unknowing accomplice to a revolt.

Quitting her job and getting out of a relationship, our heroine embarked on a journey to discover (or to lose) herself. Answering an ad looking for a helping hand in a farm, she found herself in a little village set within Lake District. As she was trying to get used to the hardship, she was also getting to know her employer, Cassandra White, a modern day hippie with a soul of a rebel. What started as a project to house the poor, t
Johnny Andrews
Jul 29, 2012 Johnny Andrews rated it really liked it
Not my usual cup of tea, i wouldn't have picked it out, however i won it of first reads and thought i'd give it a go....
I was laughing in the first few pages, it's a hard sell because it doesn't really sell itself but it is an original jem of a book.
It all comes across as a 2 finger salute from the working class to the rich upper class.
It's got eccentric characters, a rural feel yet because of the way it's written, smothered with satire, it never gets boring.

Well worth a read if you want somethi
Sep 17, 2012 Cliff rated it really liked it
Wonderful book! Set in England's Lake District, it is narrated by a woman who has separated from her husband and who answers an advertisement to act as a 'companion' for another woman living in the Duddon valley who has very decided views about the modern world, contrary to most of received opinions and views. The story basically tells of the take over of a large number of unoccupied second homes which are given to deserving locals. of course, it all ends unhappily. Much of the story is told by ...more
Yuet Chiu
i really appreciate u westerner who are willing to spend a lot of time writing a book review contains several thousand words. It is my first review so please forgive my grammatical mistakes. One star is the least score we can give. I give it one more just because some ideas in this books echo mines. Organic farming, rural lives, anti- rich people, anti- chemicals.
The sex scenes are mainly for commercial needs but nothing more. And the nook is quite short.
Oct 05, 2012 Oana rated it it was ok
And on those days I stop typing, "Dear Mr Bellow, We would like to offer you an altogether better deal on your life insurance" and instead I type

Everything will burn and the rich will find their houses burned
And the land will be ours
We will be free
The houses will burn the fat fucker houses with their mahogany tallboys and their rosewood serpentine desks and Mr Sooke will lie snivelling in is cell
And we will take back everything
And one day we will rise again"

May 20, 2014 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook
Struggling with how to rate this book. I really wanted to like it, and I really did, for a while. It was a breeze to read. I loved its irreverence, wit, and the sharpness of the critique of consumerist culture. But I wasn't always sure I liked the style of Kavenna's prose. And ultimately the novel felt too light, too thin - as if it could have, and should have, been so much more. I was left feeling slightly confused and disappointed.
Jan 25, 2016 MissNYix rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2016 MissNYix rated it it was ok
This book sends you right off the edge. (You'd go bat crazy, it's a what-are-you-trying-to-do-trying-to-brainwash-me sort of book. If it (referring to the book) is a piece of artwork, it is an abstract one. It was hilarious at first, than it got rather tedious. An insane book for the insane mind? (By gosh, I sound like a character in the book). It is written in a poetry style yet, there is a journalist's Q&A expertise in various parts of the book.
Ilyhana Kennedy
Jun 27, 2014 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it really liked it
Joanna Kavenna has written a wonderful romp of a tale, everything taken to extremes. It's a brilliant comedy, laced with all the daunting issues of our time.
The characters are highly visible. We might easily recognise them. It's clear from the start where this story is going, so the reader is more engrossed with the question of "how does it arrive at that outcome?"…and that is precisely the protagonist's agonising issue.
It's hilarious, and quite serious, as all good comedy can be.
Tasha Williams
I was going to give this 3 stars but seeing as 2 stars apparently means 'it was ok', and that was my overall thought of this. Really strong beginning, really funny but then after the first 50 pages I found it to grow quite dull and didn't have the same hilarity as before. Wasn't that pleased by the ending either so 2 stars based on a good beginning and an interesting premise.
Apr 27, 2015 Xerxessia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belletristik
Oh, wunderbar. Eher zufällig bin ich auf dieses Buch gestoßen und war entzückt! Eine tolle schräge Cassandra, eine immer bedenkentragende Erzählerin, mit der frau sich identifizieren kann, und eine wahnwitzige Story. Leider ein trauriges, aber schlüssiges Ende mit einem Spruz Hoffnung. Ich bin begeistert! Mehr von Joanna Kavenna bitte!
Nov 28, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Plausible characters take part in a rather improbable romp of a story, set in the English Lake District. It's highly readable entertainment, although one does wonder whether the book has much value beyond that. However, it's also short, so feel free to indulge without worrying to much why you are reading it!
Aug 13, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Pleasantly insane.

A small cast of characters you sort of want to punch in the face but at the same time, you don't want anything really bad to happen to them. Mostly. You know the type.

Quite evocative of the grim, damp terror of a winter Up North. Goats not as belligerent as you might expect. Not enough tea. Not enough knitwear, for that matter. But a good read,
Neil Forbes
Aug 23, 2013 Neil Forbes rated it it was amazing
Superb. Belly-fired bloody knuckle satire. Easy to underestimate at the beginning. This is not Rachel Johnson. Look forward to reading more from Ms JK. Style with purpose. Reminded me of film Walkabout at the end. Not sure another author has made readers miss the baser smells of the country.
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Joanna Kavenna is a prize-winning British novelist and travel writer.

Kavenna spent her childhood in Suffolk and the Midlands as well as various other parts of Britain. She has also lived in the United States, France, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

These travels led to her first book, The Ice Museum, which was published in 2005. It was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award in that
More about Joanna Kavenna...

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“You won't get extra marks for being teacher's pet. You won't go to the top of the class. There is no class. There is no teacher. Or if there is then you have to understand that he or she doesn't actually like you. You are not being marked out of ten for how neatly you sharpen your pencil and how lovely your handwriting is. You are not going to get a gold star. You are not the fucking flower monitor and no one cares what you do.” 2 likes
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