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Our Endless Numbered Days

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  15,581 ratings  ·  2,272 reviews
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 th ...more
Paperback, 394 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Tin House Books (first published February 16th 2015)
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Claire The reader knows that Peggy makes it back home from the very first page - that she gets back isn't the twist... the twist is how she makes it home and…moreThe reader knows that Peggy makes it back home from the very first page - that she gets back isn't the twist... the twist is how she makes it home and why...(less)
Claire Fuller Thanks for your question and sorry that I'm only just replying. The title of the book was taken from the album title. I'm a big Iron and Wine fan and …moreThanks for your question and sorry that I'm only just replying. The title of the book was taken from the album title. I'm a big Iron and Wine fan and I listen to his music as I write. It's a beautiful title and seemed very appropriate to the story. (less)

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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  15,581 ratings  ·  2,272 reviews

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Mar 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
I regret that I can't unread this disgusting garbage.
What most irritates me, what I find so off-putting(beyond all of the mind-numbing lack of a plot) is that the story is only finally going somewhere when it ends. If you want to know the actual what the heck this book is about, read about the last five pages and you'll spare yourself hours and hours of boredom, unless you like books about a crazed father stealing his young daughter to live in a shack in the mountains, almost starving(view
Elyse Walters
"On the far side of the forest, toward the gill, I built a secret place. I bent thin saplings into an arch, weaving and tying them together. I interlaced these with reeds and sticks, and laid fresh ferns over the top so that my father could walk past and not noticed my
green bower. Inside it, curved over the top of my head when I sat upright, but most of the time I lay on more ferns covered with moss that I had prised from the rocks. I stretched out on my back, with my head sticking out of the o
Steph VanderMeulen
This. I am so full of feels that I can hardly breathe. This is the best book I've read in months. Oh my God. I have to gather myself. ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This is one of the best books I have read in a long while. It is beautifully written with a main character, Peggy, who I absolutely adored.

Her story starts in the long hot summer of 1976 when her survivalist father takes her away from everything she knows on a trek to somewhere in Europe. They spend the next nine years living in Die Hutte a wooden cabin in a densely wooded forest, miles from civilisation. They survive by living off the land and with Peggy under the illusion (from her father) tha
Apr 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Why, oh why do so many people love this story? It was beyond disturbing, horrifying and just plain wrong. Yes, the author writes beautifully, but that doesn't make the subject of a child experiencing trauma enjoyable to read.

(view spoiler)
RoseMary Achey
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A survivalist father abducts his eight year old daughter and settles in an abandoned cabin deep in the woods. He convinces the daughter they are the only two remaining humans left on the planet.

When you read this story: 1. Do not read ahead. 2. Read each word and phrase carefully.

The incredible ending is one that you will not see coming. I was tempted to go back and re-read portions of the book because how could I have possibly missed the foreshadowing?

Originally started for one of my sampling blog posts, Our Endless Numbered Days was so compelling, so early on that I had to continue. My first impression was that this was 'a book I could happily binge-read in one sitting', and in the end I did just that (well, almost; it actually took me a couple of days to work my way through it).

The premise is this: in 1976, eight-year-old Peggy is taken by her survivalist father to live in a cabin, which he calls 'die Hütte', in the depths of an unspecific
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I believe that this book was a rather nice breath of fresh air, or at least it remained so until the end, when it kinda turned my stomach.

If any of you remember the neat stuff of The Wasp Factory or Life of Pi, you'll get a taste of all that here, but definitely not as crazy in either sense. All of the action and twist is much more homely and down to earth, sticking to the forest, so to speak.

It's definitely a cross between survivalist fiction and a coming of age novel, but all that doesn't quit
3.5/5 stars? I'm not sure how to rate this yet. This book had some serious 'WTF'-moments. I don't know how else to put it. :D I'll have to give this some more thought before I give my final rating. ...more
Resh (The Book Satchel)
This was a wonderful book. I picked it up after reading and loving Claire's second novel, Swimming Lessons. It is one of my favourite books of the year. I enjoyed Our Endless Numbered days. And had I read it first, before Swimming Lessons, I would have rated it much higher. Claire Fuller has matured as an author in her second novel. So I would advise you to read this first and then Swimming Lessons if you are keen on both.

-highly atmospheric
-eerily frightening
-good character sketches
-excellent b
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had no idea this wind-worn woman, creased and bag-eyed, standing outside her barn with her cow on a rope, would be the last person I would meet from the real world for another nine years.

Peggy is only eight-years-old when her mentally unbalanced father whisks her away to a remote cabin in the woods. She thinks it's a fun holiday; he means it to be a permanent relocation . . . going so far as to tell Peggy that the rest of the world has been destroyed, and they are the only survivors.

Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book left me reeling. I can't remember the last novel to provoke such a strong emotional reaction in me. The characterisation is perfect, allowing for a precise family dynamic to be created before, during, and after Peggy's abduction. Peggy herself offers a unique narrative, the balance of child-like naïveté and keen insight giving the reader a clear view of what has really transpired.

The premise was astonishing. Though the novel is ambitious, Fuller executes it almost perfectly - almost. H
I read Swimming Lessons earlier in the year and then went back to catch up on Fuller’s acclaimed debut from 2015. Collectively, I am so impressed with her work, specifically the elegant way she alternates between different time periods to gradually reveal the full extent of family secrets and the potential faultiness of memory. Here the narrator is Peggy Hillcoat, a 17-year-old in recovery from nine years spent in a hut in the Bavarian forest with her father, an extreme survivalist who convi ...more
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I suspect a great deal of one's reception to this book hinges upon whether you predicted the twist at the end, or were suckerpunched by it. I belong to the former group, and felt that throwing it in at the end with no exploration of the psychological trauma the protagonist went through was pretty cheap move. (view spoiler) ...more
Bill Kupersmith
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One sign of a five star is it deepens our understanding of books we’ve previously read & now I feel I can relate better to Elizabeth Flock’s Me & Emma. In Our Endless Numbered Days, Peggy is a victim of really terrible child abuse, but like Carrie in Me & Emma, she is too young & naive to be aware that what is happening to her is far from normal & of quite how badly she is being treated by a father or stepfather who ought to have the child protective services descending on him like the Furies. S ...more
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the scenario.

When she was eight years-old Peggy’s father told her that the situation he feared had come to pass. The world had ended and everyone was dead, except for the two of them. They were still there because he was a survivalist, because he been preparing for what had happened for years.

He took her away from their London home to live in die Hütte, a wooden cabin, deep in a remote forest somewhere on continental Europe.

He lied. The world hadn’t ended. Her mother wasn’t de
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a 383-page book that I started out with a goal of reading 50 pages….then “might as well read to 100 pages”…and then another 100 pages (half the book and “that would be a good place to stop for the day, because I am not going to read the whole book!”) …and then I kept on going (how does this end?????).

So, thank you Claire Fuller for writing a book that had me in its clutches. I got this book from the library, I think, because a Goodreads friend (Trevor P.?) had recommended another book
Mar 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
edited: I thought I titled this review "Our Endless Numbered Pages".
I got suckered into buying this book based on all the rave reviews. It's taken me three weeks to get 80 pages into it. I found it depressing, repetitive (OK, OK, we know Ute plays the piano beautifully!) and maddening, with lots of going back and forth in time (which I don't like as it spoils the flow of a story, unless done right). I'm also not interested in how they kill rabbits and small game, let alone big game, and I found
Jessica J.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I can't decide if this is three stars or four. The writing was solid, and I imagine many readers will enjoy it. But the plotting was occasionally awkward and the (view spoiler) was ultimately unsatisfying. ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2016
I first had this book recommended to me when I had author Nathan Ballingrud on the Reading Envy podcast. He had recently finished it and praised it highly. It has been floating around in my mind ever since so I finally read it.

The basis premise of the novel is a father who kidnaps his daughter, lying to her and making her think they are the only survivors on the planet. He is a survivalist but it isn't clear in the beginning how he leaps from stockpiling food to going on the run. I found it to b
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
I thought this was an excellent book. Told retrospectively, it weaves a highly contextual story of perception and survival. It paints the very frightening picture of a parent decending into mental illness from the perspective of a child who has no outside help or context to draw from, and the ways a child might cope with that situation, but it tells the tale with a voice still innocent and with an appreciation for love and beauty.
Jamie Crosby
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I always approach a book with an open mind, no matter the genre or topic. But that being said, I didn't expect this book to be in my limited favorites shelf.

I was amazed on many levels with this book. The authors description of the setting was vivid. I read before I fall asleep and upon closing my eyes I still could see the tree's, the hut and the rest of the scenery in detail. It was like I was right there.

The turn of events at every corner made it a hard book to put down. It was amazing how t

Penguin UK
For Tim, India and Henry

Description: 1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.Her life is reduced
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that on paper shouldn’t be any good at all, but in execution is sad and lovely and quietly powerful. I feel like it should come with a warning, though, as based on the pastoral-looking cover, I didn’t realize it was going to be as devastating as it was.

Eight-year-old Peggy journeys with her father to a remote cabin in the woods. He tells her that a cataclysmic event has ended the world outside their forest, and they are the only ones left. We know from the beginning t
Mar 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nope. I didn't like this from the first few pages, but continued to skim read the middle (yawn) only to find that it got worse. Badly written, as if the author just completed a poor lit class and decided to throw in lots of unnecessary descriptive language. I hate this. The first person past tense narrative didn't work for me either, which is strange as this shouldn't have been a problem, but for me it was. I won't even get into the plot. Everything I hate in a book. Such a shame as the premise ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-favorites
baaaaah! i loved this. though at first i was a bit confused by the formatting of the non-linearity, i soon figured it out and it was smooth sailing from there. i love that claire isn't afraid to get twisty in her lit-tra-chur, especially in ways this harrowing. there is one scene in particular here that, due to sheer beauty, will stick with me for a long time. ...more
Julianne (Leafling Learns・Outlandish Lit)
This debut novel was brilliant. It's one of my new favorite books.

Peggy Hillcoat, an 8-year-old girl, is taken away from her home by her father one day. He tells her that the world has ended and that the rest of her family is dead. They are the only two people in the world left. They live together off of very little in a completely rundown cabin in the woods. When she finally comes back to her mother nine years later, they both discover the truth about what happened out there in the wilderness a
Amy | littledevonnook
This was a good read that definitely had some shocking and heart-wrenching moments.

We follow the story of an eight year old girl who is taken by her survivalist-enthusiast Father to live in a remote cabin in a European forest. Her Father tells her that the rest of the world and the people she loves are all gone and they are the only two people remaining on the planet. He convinces her to stay in the confines of the small forested area around the dilapidated cabin he has found for them. But this
Peter Boyle
Is there anything more terrifying for a child than the realisation that a parent is mentally unstable and cannot be trusted? That the person they look to most for guidance and protection in this world is unable take care of themselves, never mind their own offspring?

This is the nightmare facing 8-year-old Peggy Hillcoat, plucked from a comfortable London home by her Survivalist father to live in an isolated cabin, deep in the German woods. Little Peggy blindly believes everything her father tell
John Gilbert
Feb 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book. Slow starting and it sometimes seemed to go on endlessly when Peggy and her father lived in a hut in Bavaria totally on their own for 9 years. As a debut novel, this was extraordinary. Inventive, beguiling and utterly fascinating in the end. But the journey was very difficult to read at times as the father was quite mad.

I have previously read two of Ms Fuller's novels, loving Swimming Lessons, less so Unsettled Ground. This is a book that will stay with me for a very long time, Pegg
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Claire Fuller is the author of five novels: The Memory of Animals, which will be published in April 23 in the UK, and June 23 in the US and Canada. Her previous, Unsettled Ground, which won the Costa Novel Award 2021, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction; Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the 2015 Desmond Elliott prize; Swimming Lessons, shortlisted for the Encore Prize; and Bi ...more

Articles featuring this book

Kidnapped at age eight, Peggy lives in the woods, believing that she and her dad are the only two people left alive in the world in the new novel...
25 likes · 28 comments
“My father was fond of saying 'If you own too many possessions sooner or later they start owning you.” 21 likes
“Dates only make us aware of how numbered our days are, how much closer to death we are for each one we cross off. From now on, Punzel, we're going to live by the sun and the seasons.' He picked me up and spun me around, laughing.'Our days will be endless.” 17 likes
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