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The End of the Day

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At the end of the day, Death visits everyone. Right before that, Charlie does.

You might meet him in a hospital, in a warzone, or at the scene of a traffic accident.

Then again, you might meet him at the North Pole - he gets everywhere, our Charlie.

Would you shake him by the hand, take the gift he offers, or would you pay no attention to the words he says?

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.

The End of the Day is the stunning new novel by Claire North, author of word-of-mouth bestseller The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August.

432 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 4, 2017

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About the author

Claire North

24 books3,268 followers
Claire North is actually Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated young-adult novel author whose first book, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was just 14 years old. She went on to write seven more successful YA novels.

Claire North is a pseudonym for adult fantasy books written by Catherine Webb, who also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 707 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,968 reviews170k followers
March 24, 2019
although i own all of claire north’s previous books, this is the first one i’ve actually read. i’m like the library of congress up in here, just grabbing up all the books for my archives.

her books have always seemed like exactly the kind i would love, but i wasn’t over-the-moon crazy about this one. it is my understanding that it’s kind of a departure for her, and maybe not the best place to start, so i’ll definitely read those others i have lying around before i regret my grabbing.

if you want to read a well-written and positive review by someone familiar with the author’s work, go read brad’s. mine isn’t going to be very useful.

it was just kind of flat. the concept is fun - you have your four horsemen: famine, war, pestilence, and death, represented as humanoid beings wandering the world, doing what they do best. and each of the four have their own harbinger - reconceived here as a position held by a mortal, with a whole interview process, mentoring system and some bennies. and these harbingers go forth for their bosses and do the whole meet-and-greet before the clip clop of devastating ponies, some handling PR or community relations, some on the research or groundwork-laying side of things. although all four harbingers appear, this book is centered on the experiences of charlie, the harbinger of death, formerly of birmingham, england.

the concept is one i have encountered a variant of before, in piers anthony’s incarnations of immortality, a series i read at least ten times in my youthful days, in which humans are selected for or stumble into the responsibility of assuming physically the offices of such abstract concepts as war, death, nature, fate, etc etc.

there’s also this pretty meh YA series called riders of the apocalypse, the last of which i still have to read, even though i haven’t really enjoyed any of them so far, which is the same kind of deal as the anthony, but with troubled teens doing the officeholding and the scope limited to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. i’ve read Hunger (famine), Rage (war), and Loss (pestilence), and i know i will have to face death (Breath), but i’m not going gentle into it.

with this one here, i liked charlie, and i liked the idea of the harbinger of death being deployed not only for people who were literally facing death, but that he also handled situations in which the ‘death’ was figurative - the death of an idea, a way of life, a language. i also liked the fact that he wasn’t always sent as a finality, that there were many people he visited for whom life was still an option:

”I’m the one who’s sent before. I’m not…My presence is not the end. Sometimes I am sent as courtesy, sometimes as warning. I never know which.”

the courtesy is having a presence nearby to compassionately assist the dying in their final journey, and the warning is just a different kind of courtesy; the tough-love intervention that a particular path leads only to death and an individual being given the opportunity to change. which not everyone is willing to do.

my main difficulty with this book was that i struggled with what it was meant to leave the reader with, the why of it. it reads like a character study, with examples of what a character like this would do and who he would meet along the way, but there’s no boom to it tying the whole thing together. it’s episodic and meandering, and it feels unfinished somehow, unglazed.

it’s entertaining enough; occasionally sad, sweet, touching, horrifying, or funny, but there’s not much in the way of resolution: charlie meets characters, delivers his warning or hand-holding, they either live or die and then they drift from the page and we move on. it’s more concept than narrative, which is a perfectly valid approach to storytelling, but not one that’s ever really appealed to me. the writing is good, with moments of great, and several of the stories worked really well as contained entities, but i couldn’t locate any unifying theme or intent. maybe if this had been structured as a series of linked short stories with the ends shaved off a bit and all of the continuity-arc removed it would have been a more satisfying read for me.

it did give me one chilling moment, though, which i am interpreting as my own "warning," in the story of a man who has lost everything and has become homeless and desperate, trying to bargain with death:

"I...I just need a helping hand," he whispered at last. "I just...I just need someone to see me, waiting here. That's all I need, and then I'll rebuild again. I swear to you, I'll rebuild, I just need someone to see!"

i'm not homeless just yet (yay!), but i've been struggling for a while since being laid off from my dream job - working little bitty jobs and freelance stuff that doesn't pay much, exhausting myself by putting all of my energy into making ends meet and too run down and anxious at the end of the day to find something better. and i want to rebuild and i want someone to see me, but being so tired and dispirited has really killed my confidence and i'm just stuck, and it's a slippery slope and i'm probably on the road to becoming this man - yelling at death to gimmie something productive to do where my skills and dedication can be appreciated in the form of $$. and death will say "no."

i'm not sure if it is the death of hope or potential, but i definitely need a change.

i told you to go read brad's...

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,114 reviews1,977 followers
November 18, 2017
I finished this book last night and am still thinking about it today - a definite sign of a good book! However a good book to me might not be so to someone else, and in this particular case I can foresee some big differences in ratings!

Firstly there is no plot so if your books have to have a story that begins and ends you won't like it at all. Secondly there is a lot of emphasis on social and political issues so if your world opinion differs from the author's you might not care for it.

On the other hand there is a totally disarming main character called Charlie who holds the position of Harbinger of Death. He works out of an office in Milton Keynes and his direct supervisor is Death himself - or maybe herself. You decide! That information alone would make me grab this book knowing that I was going to love it:)

If you are a reader of Terry Pratchett's wonderful books then you will recognise the character of Death immediately plus his accompanying Riders of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, Famine and War. I think Terry would have enjoyed this book.

I enjoyed it very much. Five stars worth in fact:)
Profile Image for William.
675 reviews314 followers
July 7, 2020
Ten Stars.
Truly incredible and extraordinary.
A Masterpiece.


It's clear that I will never find the words I need for my review of this astonishing book, unlike any other book I have ever read. But please accept these for now, and know that in my heart, they will grow and change and resonate always.

If you've read Claire North before, you know she loves developing new styles, new concepts, new presentations. Much of this book is almost stream-of-consciousness, bits of overheard "modern life" dialogue, many very political or cultural in nature, many deeply offensive to our humanity... Please just go with the flow of the book for while, accept it's style. It's actually quite fresh and wonderful, and gently more profound as you progress.

The whole book is a kind of road trip through the human condition, with our protagonist, Charlie, kind and mild-mannered, an agent to celebrate each person he meets in their life before Death comes to them. He is a perfect witness of what we do to each other, what we allow to be done, and how we react to what is done. He is a witness to who each person is, to their life energy, to their humanity.

• Exquisite, profound... I cannot stop crying while reading this chapter about a hopeful, loving Jewish and Palestinian orchestra in the West Bank...

And I realise here that her previous books have been BY Claire North, BY her skill, BY her vision and her clever concepts, but this book IS Claire North. It IS her, it is who she is, her deepest heart laid bare as a gift to us.

The entire construction of the stories that make up Charlie's journey is wonderful, flowing and conversational, but without any overarching plot. It's a different style than perhaps you enjoy or have seen before. Just go with it, allow yourself to be carried along by it. As you travel with Charlie you will find both terrible horrors and shining gems, becoming deeply profound in time.

Claire's language can be astonishing, reaching into you to your deepest heart, and teaching you. I wept with horror and with joy throughout.

Claire North uses a surreal device for some of the actors/witnesses in the story. Charlie (and, I suppose the other Harbingers for the riders) operate out of typical, everyday business offices. Charlie is an employee of Death, and the Milton Keynes office is a sort of typical business agency working for Death, that sets Charlie's travel and schedules his appointments, pays his airfare and hotel bills, and his taxes and the like. He is directed to bring particular gifts to each person on his list, usually some object from their pasts, or perhaps something to indicate their futures.

In the journey of The End of the Day, Death, War, Famine and Pestilence - the four riders of the apocalypse and their "clerical" human Harbingers - appear to us as people, almost everyday people, sometimes friendly and sometimes joyous for human triumphs, mostly about promoting their nature. The human Harbingers "go before", and Charlie is the Harbinger of Death, coming to people before their Death, or sometimes as a warning.

Claire's deepest heart speaks in this book, guides us through life, expresses her horror and joy and hope, her anger at injustice and greed, my anger like hers, my joy like hers, my horror like hers. Her political views, her charity, her love for all of us is clear here.

We are seeing the truth of Claire North herself, and it is extraordinarily beautiful. I feel honoured to have had the chance to read this book. I will surely return to it again, and again in the future.

Claire wisely includes Emmi, who becomes Charlie's life partner, his anchor, his true love. Her inclusion in the story reflects our hearts' most extraordinary needs: To love and to be loved, to have the most beautiful parts of us be understood and respected and supported. Without Emmi in this book, hope would die.

Brexit promised three hundred and fifty million a week for the NHS, they promised controls on immigration, they promised an end to the housing crisis, to the education crisis, to the economic crisis, to the …”

“What I don’t understand is that when the British public voted to name a research vessel Boaty McBoatface, the government said no. But when we voted to commit cultural and economic seppuku, the powers-that-be didn’t seem to have a fucking clue …



---

4% ... After Charlie visits her, Death comes to Mama Sakinai ...
Death smiled again, and leant in close, holding the old woman’s hand gently within his taloned grasp, twisting his head to the side a little so that his mighty horns might not tear the window above her head. Then, in her language –in the ancient tongue of her peoples, the ones who had hunted until the settlers came, the ones who had died in the human hunts, the ones who had forgotten their names –he murmured in her ear, There is a place waiting for you behind the setting moon, Mama Sakinai. There are the spirits of your ancestors, living anew in the rivers of the sky. They call to you, they call to you, in your own tongue; they are waiting to tell the stories again, the stories that will never more be told in this land of burning sun. They hear your footsteps on the golden way, they catch you as you fall. Your people all are dead, Mama Sakinai, and your language too, and your stories and your lives, but only the world of the living is changed, never the world of the dead.

7% ... Some wonderful, exquisite moments of pure brilliance and joy....
Now [ Death ] watched the bear as it swam back to shore, and the bear after a while saw him, and recognised him for what he was, as all things do, and walked over slowly, bowing her head to press her great, puffing nose against his hair, and Death held her close, and felt her breathe, and waited.

27% ... chapter 35 ... a rage at “the system”, the jungle capitalism that eats its young, the greedy people with broken egos who only value power and possessions, and can never be fulfilled. Bless you Claire North.

38% ... "They are charging fifty thousand Syrian pounds for every man, woman and child who wishes to leave [the city]. It is criminal, you see, to run away from war; it is treachery. If the people run, do you know what they meet then?

“They meet the extremists. They meet the boys whose fathers died before they could teach them about humanity. They meet the angry men, the kids who never worked out who they were until God told them in a bloody dream. They meet the lucky survivors, the ones who escaped the bombs, and who, seeing their friends dead, knew it was only heaven that saved them. They meet the soldiers who did not want to fight, whose families will die if they do not. They meet the men who fight for a cause, and have chosen the cause over life. They meet the beheaders, who are happy to saw through the spines of teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists and children. They meet the men who stone women to death, and set fire to prisoners inside metal cages.”


42% ... Everyone meets Death. The tired welcome her; the just rage against her coming. The young do not understand her; the great do not realise that she cannot be bought. But of all those for whom she comes, it is always the lovers who are the most afraid.
- Extract from an email,
Saga Kekkonen, “Advice for a new Harbinger”.



• Charlie actually accompanies Death, only once. And this is the single finest passage ever written by Ms North. Read it twice.

And the old man?

He opened his eyes at Death’s touch and he beheld …
… what he beheld was his secret, and only his to know, but he smiled.

“Oh,” he wheezed. “It’s you.”

Hello, Isaak.

“Been a while.”

It has, hasn’t it?

“You haven’t changed.”

Ah, but in my way …

“Where was it last …?”

Sobibor. [Nazi Death Camp]

“Sobibor,” he breathed. “I remember. You were there. You helped me, you said you’d never tell, and I never told either. Sobibor –you had to survive day after day in the camp, and you were there and together …”

Death squeezed his hand tighter, smiling up into the ancient, blurred eyes. I remember. I was always there. You lived for the day, and you lived for the day after that, and one day the days would end, but you would live until that very moment. I remember.

The old man, with great effort, laid his free hand on Death’s own, and squeezed back. “I wondered when I’d see you again, my friend. There were many times when I thought … but you came for someone else, not for me. I didn’t know if that was because of what we’d done, what we’d seen together, whether you wanted someone to witness, to remember.”

People will remember, Death replied quietly. I remember everything, but I have a Harbinger too, and he remembers as the mortals do, and he remembers for the living.

The old man craned his head to see Charlie, who moved round to be better in his view. He smiled at Charlie, who tried to smile back, then the man’s gaze returned to Death.

“Do you think they’re waiting for me?” he asked.

I don’t know.

“I always thought they would be.”

Then that’s what matters.

“This man … together …” He pointed at Death, but looked at Charlie. “I never told, and he swore he never would. But you should know. You should know because … the living must know. You had to live. You had to live, even if it meant betraying your people, even if it meant … I lived by closing the doors. They went into the chamber and together we closed the doors, didn’t we? We always closed the doors.”

Charlie bit his lip, looked at the man, looked at Death, then knelt down by the man’s side and added his own hands to the tangle of flesh folded across his knee. Charlie’s fingers were hot, the only warm thing in that grasp, a beating heart. “You lived, Isaak,” he whispered. “You lived.”

The old man smiled, and the smile stayed on his face forever.



.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,846 followers
April 18, 2017
I'm a fan of all kinds of literature, so this one struck me right off the bat as more of a literary fiction fare with a supernatural element than a straight SF or F like I'm used to with Claire North.

That being said, I would completely recommend this for anyone who's a fan of Terry Pratchett's Death and anyone who loves to glide across a very variable surface stretching across all continents and walks of life as Charlie The Harbinger, the One Who Comes Before (Death), hops from plane to plane, car to car, travel voucher to travel voucher, as he serves as a warning or a blessing to all kinds of people from all walks of life.

It's a courtesy, after all. One should always be polite about all these things.

We also get to see the modern helpers for the other three horsemen, too, but mostly, this aspect is not the most important in the novel. To me, I think the best part of this novel is the Life.

Charlie is the bridge, a normal human who took the job out of college, whose main qualification is his enjoyment of life. Isn't that cool? He looks forward. The fact that there are as many reactions to death as there are people doesn't bother him... much... except in fairly extreme circumstances, and there are a few of those.

This is foremost a character novel, not a plot-driven one. It's subtle and wide-ranging and surprisingly deep. It's a novel that dives into the human condition and keeps digging and digging and digging along this single path, always vacillating between joy and despair, purpose and meaninglessness, love and hate.

I honestly can see a lot of people not liking it because it isn't a streamlined "normal" expectation of a novel, but it *IS* a good one. It's one that brought me to tears. It jerked me about and sat on me and beat me up.

It also has Claire North's particular flavor, through and through. Clear, wide-ranging, brilliant, and glorious to behold.

I won't say this is exactly like her other novels or that it belongs to everyone, but it is a novel that touched me pretty deeply, and that's how I'm presenting my love. With respect and courtesy. :)

Profile Image for Justine.
1,103 reviews294 followers
April 8, 2017
This is more a sort of philosophical musing on the state of the world and the nature of change than an actual story per se. Charlie is the Harbinger of Death, and his job is to bear witness. This book is essentially a window for the reader to bear witness to Charlie's experiences and feelings.

I like Claire North, and I'm in agreement with her political views -- which are always on prominent display in her books -- but this is a book that I think you will either love or hate. I fall more to the love side because whatever this book is about (and that honestly is a question ripe for debate) I found it emotionally moving. I can also see some people reading this and just saying, WTF was that?

Bottom line is that if you like North, definitely give this a try, because you will probably like it and see how it has evolved from her previous books. If you are reading her for the first time, this is not where I would recommend starting. For that I would recommend instead either The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August or Touch.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,385 reviews977 followers
April 8, 2017
I loved The End of the Day. I took my time with it, a novel to be savoured for its utterly beautiful writing, gorgeous descriptive nuances and Charlie, the character at the heart of it, one I will never forget.

The world Claire North has built here is one of many levels, Charlie, who takes on a new role as the harbinger of death whilst learning about life, is so wonderfully normal that you just sink into his world feeling like it is all entirely possible. The End of the Day is melancholy, intense, a book that has something to say in the underneath of it all if you listen to its small quiet voice. The places Charlie visits, the people he meets, some of them in their last moments, just ingrain themselves into your senses, this is a book with that thing called “all the feels”

I actually find it quite difficult to describe with any actually useful thoughts at all, it just IS – Claire North writes with a peaceful complexity, she drew me into her story without me hardly noticing until I was just living it all right alongside Charlie and the rest of the eclectic, memorable characters I met along the way. Some of the scenes are heart stopping, most of them gently contemplative but ultimately utterly gripping, a book to sink into and leave the world behind.

Overall just total total magic. Magic on the page.

Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Carly.
456 reviews184 followers
April 25, 2017
"A world has ended, and only tomorrow remains.”
I cannot decide if this was the perfect book at the perfect time or the worst possible book at the worst possible time. And I don't know if it really matters. All I know is that as I watch the world I thought I knew fall apart, The End of the Day was a difficult and emotional but also an oddly cathartic read. It is an anguished, strident call to see the value of humanity, to see all people, even those who devalue others, as people. And if there's one thing we all need to remember right now, I think it is the maybe broken, maybe imperfect, but ultimately precious humanity that we all share.

The End of the Day is one of those books I think of as "stealth literature." Like basically all of the books written under the Claire North nom de plume, the story takes place in the real world, but with one fantastical element added: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and their Harbingers, are acknowledged and visible figures within the world. Death has an office in Milton Keynes from which he hires Charlie to be his Harbinger of Death. Superficially, the premise sounds like a cross between Mort and Good Omens, but the whimsical setup allows North to examine death and change and above all, what it means to be human while still indulging in some amusing flights of fancy and plenty of entertaining and often prattling dialogue.

Charlie's job is to travel around the world, to talk to those chosen by Death, to bring them a gift, and to honour life:
"When you’re the Harbinger of Death, the thing that matters more than anything else, is seeing people. Not corpses, not killers or victims or soldiers or criminals or presidents or anything like that. You have to see…people. People who are afraid. People who have lived their lives, in their ways. You are the bridge. Death stands behind you, but you look forward, always forward, and humanity looks straight back at you."
I admit I was underwhelmed at first. I miss the lighthearted absurd fanciful creativity of the Matthew Swift series, but this crept up on me, slowly, gradually, ponderously, until I found myself with tears in my eyes. The story is episodic, almost picaresque, a meandering tune that slowly builds into a powerful crescendo.

I read this book with a lump in my throat as I saw photos of the Idlib gas attack, as the news broke about America's decision to bomb Syria while refusing to take its refugees, as the US deported its first DREAMer, as America's climate change policy began to be dismantled, as another church was bombed in Egypt, as budget slashes to arts and culture and history and science were declared, as the US dropped the "mother of all bombs" on Afghanistan, as pollsters waffled about France's potential election upset, as graphic videos were shown of the terrorist attack in London, as the 300th person this year in the US was killed by police, as Trump and Kim Jong-un posture and threaten their way towards possible annihilation. I read this book as I feared the end of democracy in my country, as I wondered if perhaps the idea of democracy had merely been a shared delusion, now shattered. As I read about war in Syria and warmongering in America and racism and hatred and genocide and death, death, death, about the ending of one world after another, I felt, as one character puts it:
"I look and all I hear is the beating of the drums and all I see is a world in which not to be one of us is to be something else. The scientist was right, reason is dead; the dream is dead; humanity has changed into something new and it is brutal."

But that hopelessness, that depression, that dehumanization, brought on as it is by compassion fatigue or news fatigue or bitterness with a world that deviates from our expectations-- that is not the point of the book. Despite all the death and misery, despite the failed battles and broken people, I think, at its core, this story is about seeing the humanity in each of us, even in those of us who do not see the humanity in others. Sure, there are a few cultural missteps, a few tone-deaf moments (if you've read it, I'm thinking in particular of the Baltimore section). But at its core, the book is a celebration of a humanity, a desperate cry to all of us to see the humanity in one another and to build a more compassionate future.
"This is my city, my country, my home, this is my life, my battle, my war. This is my struggle to be seen as a person, to be human, this is my human body, this is my human life, this is my everything, this is my all, this is … [...] One day we will build Jerusalem."

Who would I recommend this book to? I'm honestly not sure. Don't go into it looking for an adrenaline rush, an amusing romp, or a tidy plot. But I found it poignant and cathartic and deeply meaningful. I don't know what it will be for you, but for me, it was a reminder of all the worlds that end, for good and ill, and that while I feel powerless, I am part of endings and beginnings, big and small, and have the power to change them, if only the tiniest bit.
"The world … no … a world is ending, and I was called to witness, yes? I was called to witness because I am part of the ending. My actions … I am the change. I am the future, and it is fitting, I think, that I should see the past too, yes?"
So for me, this book was about remembering the past, remembering the humanity in all of us, remembering to see people as people, not as something other. I don't know what it will mean for you, but there's only one way to find out.

~~I received this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Redhook Books, in exchange for my honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~

Cross-posted on BookLikes.
Profile Image for Sarah.
729 reviews73 followers
April 8, 2017
This book was mostly okay, although there was one element I really disliked about it. I loved Charlie, the MC, and I loved this idea of the Harbingers. Charlie witnessing so many things made for a fascinating view of other people's lives. Unfortunately the book also completely lacked a plot, which was annoying.

The element that bothered me and caused me to decrease the book from two stars to one was that a good portion of the story was spent in the U.S. and North is so clearly an outsider. This resulted in a feel that she had read the headlines but missed the story, so to speak. She hit on many major issues that catch national attention: guns, the KKK, fundamental Christians, cops who have a lack of understanding about the Harbinger's role and try to force him to fit their narrow belief in the world, immigration agents who threaten and bully him, and a dozen other things relating to our present day political situation. The main problem here was that it lacked the depth and understanding of these subjects. It was the surface that everyone sees but no awareness of the iceberg beneath. It was frustrating. I'm aware that there are many elements of our culture that suck. Glancing back through the text I actually get the impression that most of her commentary is about her perception of the American way of life; its politics and humanity.

I think... I think I am looking for a world without fear. I think the ice is melting and the old gives way to the new, and in America they shout and argue and scream at each other over the airwaves, and when it's all done, when the world has turned and we have made something new, I think it will be... maybe not better... but I think it will be honest.

She does make an effort to show the belief in the American Dream and I don't feel like she was intending this to come across as a negative view of American culture. I just think she doesn't have the context to understand and if you're going to be focusing on the negative things in a culture it's insensitive to make it about your perceptions of a culture instead of a deeper understanding.

I feel like she does a great job of seeing human rights issues on an international level and then she goes and lumps all Americans into "gun owners" (she does this in The Sudden Appearance of Hope, too) and this belief of a Christian nation. Anyway, I'm rambling and not making this very concise so I'll wrap it up. I am not the American that was depicted here and this is why this aspect of the book bothers me.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
1,985 reviews2,584 followers
April 24, 2017
2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2017/04/24/...

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. Let me just start by saying I adored the last two novels I read by Claire North, which is how I know firsthand her reputation for writing unique and fascinating stories. I never know what to expect when I pick up a book by her—only that it will be innovative with a good chance of being a bit weird. Well, it seems my luck with those experimental qualities finally ran out. The End of the Day didn’t work nearly as well for me as The Sudden Appearance of Hope or Touch did, and I believe there were several reasons for that.

But first, I’m going to attempt to brief summary of the novel, which is harder than it sounds. The End of the Day did not have a story per se, and if it had a plot, it was disjointed and muddled. There was a another review I stumbled across recently that likened the book to sitting on a park bench people-watching or something to that effect, which is actually a pretty accurate description. Literally, there are pages just filled with nothing but snippets of quotes from conversations featuring random people talking about current issues. In between, what we get is more of a character study rather than a true story.

Our main character is Charlie, and he has a very interesting job from a very interesting employer. His official title is the Harbinger of Death. He’s the guy everyone meets once, before his boss comes a-knocking. Charlie’s visits are sometimes a warning but more often a courtesy, and he usually comes bearing gifts to the people he’s scheduled to visit. From a small village in South America to Greenland to New York City, he also never knows where he’ll be or who he’ll see next. Wherever Death arranges to send him, he just goes, whether or not his employer ultimately decides to “follow up”. Not surprisingly, Charlie has seen and learned a great many things from his experiences traveling around the world and meeting people from all walks of life. Eventually, he starts to question his own existence and the role he performs, gaining a new perspective on death and the meaning of life.

The premise of the book is interesting, I’ll give it that. The execution, however, left much to be desired. I think one of the reasons I loved Touch and The Sudden Appearance of Hope was because, in a way, those could be considered thrillers, with both books featuring the same inventiveness and ingenuity that is pure Claire North, yet they were still fast-paced and exciting reads. In contrast, The End of the Day is more of a slow-burner, and did not contain any overarching conflicts or high stakes.

Instead, what we get a lot of is food for thought. One thing I can say about North’s books is that they’re always discussion-worthy, and indeed, there’s a wealth of clever themes and ideas in this one, not to mention plenty of social issues to explore. And yet, none of this really makes a good story, especially since we spend so much time with Charlie and in the end I still feel like I know so little about him. While I sympathized with many of his points, his character often came across as somewhat shallow and uninformed about a lot of the topics that come up in the novel, given the number of generalizations and strawmen arguments littered across the narrative.

Still, in spite of my disappointment, this is not the end for me and Claire North. The End of the Day might have fizzled for me, but I’ll keep reading her books because when all is said and done, North is an incredible writer and I can always count on her imagination to come up with plenty more fresh and creative ideas for stories. One of my favorite books is Touch, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants a taste of what the author is capable of. On the other hand, The End of the Day might not work so well for pleasure reading; it is heavier on commentary and lighter on story and character development, and coming from a couple of the author’s more plot-driven stories, I simply cannot say I liked the style and tone of this one as much.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews985 followers
April 6, 2017
I finished this hours ago and I'm still digesting it. I knew before I finished this would be a five star read for me, but I do understand why some reviewers rated it low. It's a weird book, and it won't speak to every one. But it spoke to me. It confused me, scared me, made me teary, made me laugh, and made me think. I loved it. It's very depressing at times, but others it's uplifting and inspiring.

The Harbinger of Death has a name. It's Charlie. He's just a normal man, who applied for the job and got it. He travels the world to visit strangers. Some die while he's there, some soon after. Some don't die for a long time. Sometimes he's a warning, and sometimes he's a courtesy. He simply goes where he's told and doesn't really know more than that. He's immensely likeable as a person, but of course some people are not happy to see him. Some demand answers he simply doesn't have. He likes to think what he does in honoring the living, but not every one agrees. He finds himself in heartbreaking and sometimes perilous situations. This book isn't action packed, but it's extremely absorbing and fascinating.

I received a copy of this book from Net Galley and Redhook books, thank you! My opinion is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Nele.
457 reviews30 followers
November 1, 2017
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book. It wasn't a bad read, I enjoyed it, but I cannot form a very solid opinion on it.
In The End of the Day, we follow Charlie, the Harbringer of Death. He comes before Death, sometimes as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. In a way, he celebrates Life, and we get to travel around the world with him, which is fun.
At the end of the book, you're left wondering: What is Death? And I cannot quite grasp the concept., although you're forced to think about it.
There's also Famine, War and Pestilence, which exist next to Death. I would have to get to know more about their relationships. Plus, a bit too political for my taste.
Hmmm, not a very coherent review. 🤔 Oh well... 🙃
Profile Image for Alexxy.
375 reviews60 followers
April 30, 2017
Death comes. Death comes, but first the Harbinger comes before.

Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. He is the one who comes before. Sometimes he comes as a warning. Sometimes he comes as a courtesy. Perhaps he’s there for an idea. Or a change in history. Maybe he’s come for the end of something we never thought would stop.

Charlie comes. And Death comes after him.

Death stands behind, and I look forward, and the world looks back and I see it and … the world when it seems me sees only Death. That’s the truth of it.

How does it feel to be the Harbinger of Death? To know that the people you’re visiting are possibly going to die? That they’re there, in front of you, alive and some time after you’re gone, they’re going to leave this world? Would you do something? Try to help and save them? And how would people react? Will they believe you? Welcome you? Really, how does it feel to be the Harbinger of Death?

“I go before, and everywhere I go, you know the thing that amazes me?”
“No.”
“Most of the time, no one is surprised to see me. At the school–no one was surprised to see me at all. And nothing changed, until it did.”

This book is plainly beautiful. Mind-blowingly amazing. Wonderful. Emotional. Moving. It’s a deep dive into one's conscious and it makes you think. About everything. About death, and about life. About people, and humanity. It opens up your eyes and makes you see.

Charlie is so relatable and so human that you can easily be him. You start reading and soon, you feel yourself falling into step beside him, walking deserted roads, climbing rocky mountains and sliding down the ice, traveling around the world and meeting people. People of every culture and status. And then you come to a better understanding, about life, world and the people in it. You understand you better.

Imagine a world wherein the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are real. They’re here and among us. They don’t have a definite form. Everyone see them as the way they believe.

Everyone sees their own Death, their own way. Everyone hears Death in their own manner.

They also have Harbingers. Except for Charlie, the book doesn't dwell a lot on the other Horsemen or their Harbingers. But it’s okay. Charlie’s story is enough to engage you emotionally and bring you to tears. Claire North has created a brilliant story about the human condition. About the good and the bad, love and hate, hope and despair.

I won’t recommend it to anyone, because I know not everyone would like it. But if you’re looking for a good book that will make you think and maybe even change you, then this is your book.

He comes, Death comes to us all, in the end.
Profile Image for ash | spaceyreads.
341 reviews204 followers
January 9, 2018
Humanizing, endearing, thought-provoking.

Claire North is my new favourite author. Well, she was already my new favourite author after The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and Touch, but what I’m really trying to say is that after this one, I realize that the first two books were not lucky flukes, and that North really is a consistently great storyteller. She has a way of using everyday things – conversations, little events, interactions – and just making it very touchingly relatable, by using them to extract a shared experience that we all have at some point in our life. I am not even an original fan of the inspirational, literary genre – I loved Harry August because it’s a very clever twist on time travel (sort of), but I fell in love with it for her style. I’m going to slowly make my way through all her books now.

"Sometimes the Harbinger of Death hears these words, words of house prices and commutes and the price of pasta and the new washing machine and the difficulty of finding a place to dry your wet clothes, and they make him indescribably sad.

Tonight, for some reason, as he listens to a story of a life being built, and speaks of the ending of all things, he is not afraid, and this world, which seems to be only ashes, begins again to giv ehim extraordinary joy."


Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. That’s the point of the whole book – we follow Charlie through his career as Death’s personal assistant. Death sends him on visits to people, as a warning or as a courtesy. As we get into the book we realize that sometimes, Death also honors ideas, and change. Change is a certain death of the previous landscape. I loved that. I’m awfully fond of Death as a character – it is exactly what I wished it to be.

Charlie experiences many happenings and revelations on life and death as he visits person after person, all across the globe. And as he grew into his role as the Harbinger of Death and as a person, I found joy in living those changes with him. It makes you think about all the various things that people experience. It might be your own, or you might have seen it from the sidelines of someone you know, or it may not have ever crossed your mind at all. It’s a good exercise in empathy. North also does this thing which I enjoyed – every now and then there’s a chapter that is just a flurry of conversations, about one page or so, and it’s an accurate picture of daily life and current events.

“What I don’t understand is that when the British public voted to name a research vessel Boaty McBoatface, the government said no. But when we voted to commit cultural and economic seppuku, the powers-that-be didn’t seem to have a fucking clue …”


I was upset when I put down the book. I could have gone on reading about Charlie’s adventures forever. 5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,395 reviews441 followers
February 16, 2017
There are jobs and then there are jobs. Harbinger of Death is the latter. Fascinating, unusual job that is worth an entire book to follow. If it sounds quirky and whimsical, like certain tv shows or Christopher Moore's books, it really isn't. It's actually quite dark and emotionally devastating of a read. Apocalyptic and eerily timely, the world ending incrementally by stabs of hatred, prejudice, anger, stupidity and ignorance. Harbinger's job is to come before and to see the humanity behind its ugly trappings, to recognize the soul of each and every individual, no matter how repugnant or unlovable. It's a tough job, dangerous even and yet something noble about bearing witness to the end of the world, a sliver of kindness in the end of the day. The ability to behold impartially is mind blowing really, in a world more divided than ever and apparently so for the lack of discourse, though I have never found it to be a particularly effective solution because ignorance galvanized by prejudiced hatred appears impenetrable to reason and indifferent to logic and facts. Striking poignant and befitting book for 2017. This is my first read by the author and it's been a pretty favorable introduction. It can be frustrating elliptical, particularly the dialogue, and though I'm partial to ellipsis myself...see...at times it was too much. Conceptually an interesting premise, well executed, somewhat idealistic on occasion, but the author is so young, it's to be expected. Good thought stimulant, though, always nice when a book does that. Thanks Netgalley.
Profile Image for Warrengent.
127 reviews12 followers
February 14, 2017
What a intriguing and interesting character Charlie is.
Highly recommend this brilliant novel to everyone but make sure you don't have anything planned, because you will cancel those appointments, my cold is much better now LOL
Profile Image for Paul.
703 reviews61 followers
April 7, 2017
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, eventually we all have to confront the concept of death. You could be a pragmatist, happy to accept that moving from life to death is merely the transfer of energy from one form to another. You could be deeply devout, believing in an all-encompassing deity who will lead you into a far better afterlife. The choice is ultimately your own. The one thing that makes us all the same, accepting that with life comes death. Claire North’s latest is an exploration of what makes us tick and what happens when the ticking finally stops.

Charlie is a truly fascinating character. The Harbinger of Death isn’t the job he ever expected to be doing, but he finds that it fits him well. He gets to travel, meet interesting people and celebrate the complexity of life. To be clear, he isn’t death. Charlie is what comes before, he is a courtesy or sometimes a warning. The other important distinction that needs to be highlighted is that death doesn’t have to mean the end of a life, it can also mean the end of an idea. Charlie is the mirror that allows us to view our own humanity in all its chaotic glory. Everyone reacts to Charlie’s appearance in different ways. Some shun him upon arrival, unwilling to hear anything he has to say, while others welcome him with open arms. Various governmental authorities have a particularly difficult time trying to classify this man and his role in the world. They can try to impede or stop Charlie doing his job, but they can’t do the same to death.

There is an episodic air to events as the reader follows Charlie going about his business. To an outsider some of the meetings may appear to be nonsensical, but they perfectly illustrate how intimate and personal a life and a death actually are. Some of my favourite moments include Charlie on a Wim Wenders-esque road trip with a man called Robinson, Charlie’s touching relationship with Emmi and his epic run in with the powers that be. Dotted throughout the narrative there are snippets of random conversations. Not only do they reinforce the transitory nature of existence, but also pick apart the current zeitgeist. Anyone who follows has a passing interest in world events will undoubtedly pick up on this. I’ll admit there is a part of me that hopes each of these little pronouncements are one hundred percent genuine things that the author has overheard herself at some point. We are social creatures and these nuggets of information pulled from other people’s lives reminds us of this. We’re all just a collection of experiences after all.

The End of the Day is a subtle, poignant piece of writing and I have been saving a soundtrack recommendation for just such an occasion. Les Revenants by Mogwai, that was used as the soundtrack to the French television drama of the same name, fits beautifully. I listened to this repeatedly while reading the book and it feels as though they were made for one another.

North has crafted an utterly compelling read. Through Charlie’s travels she unpicks the human condition as it exists in the 21st century. All human life is here and it is frankly amazing how many thought provoking insights the author has managed to cram into the narrative. The plot is so cleverly constructed that it never feels overlong or bloated. It’s only when you come to the final page do you realise how much metaphysical ground has been covered. This is the sort of book I need to talk to other people about. I have a burning desire to know other people’s opinions. Different readers are going to take different interpretations away from this text and there will be some that loath that level of ambiguity. Personally, I loved every second of it. Death appears to everyone in a different form, so is it not possible that there are differing ways to interpret the plot? Irrespective of how you choose to read this book, there are so many well executed moments they will all demand your complete attention. There are scenes of pure tragedy followed by flashes of unadulterated joy. I’ve always thought that capturing genuine emotion in writing is the hardest of tasks, but Claire North makes it all look so effortlessly easy.

You may not have guessed this but I’m a little awe struck by The End of the Day. This is sublime, beautifully affecting fiction. I have to admit I took my time savouring this novel. I wanted to relish every single page. I’d imagine this is the sort of book that people are going to want to talk to others about. At first glance it could be dismissed as just a modern genre fantasy but it is so much more. There is an introspective quality to Charlie that forces the reader to examining their own preconceived notions and prejudices regarding just about everything. Read this book as soon as soon as is humanly possible. You can thank me later.
Profile Image for MTK.
482 reviews33 followers
November 5, 2018
Ποτέ δε θα φανταζόμουνα ότι από ένα βιβλίο με θέμα το θάνατο θα απέπνεε τόσο γνήσια αγάπη για τη ζωή.
49 reviews1 follower
April 4, 2017
This review and more on my blog https://bookdrblog.wordpress.com

I have read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and really enjoyed it so was excited to read this. I have been hugely disappointed. Reading this was a waste of my life. It was a huge struggle to get through and I nearly DNF-ed it so many times. In fact I wrote an entire post about DNF-ing books, and it was inspired by this book.

The beginning of this book is very confusing. There are multiple parts where it seems like the author has started writing half way through a thought. It’s as though she doesn’t realise that we aren’t in her head and only have the information actually written down. Things just don’t make sense and it is incredibly annoying.

There are multiple parts throughout the book, often whole (short) chapters, that are nothing but random dialogue. Literally totally random sentences, spoken by random people. I guess it is meant to be people of the world talking but it adds nothing but confusion to the book.

At other times there is completely random inclusion of chat about the other Harbingers, Famine etc. This is often confusing as it really is totally random, and it adds nothing to the story.

There is very little actual story in this book. Charlie, the Harbinger of Death, visits some people that may or may not be dying. The accounts of these visits are all pretty boring. Some of them had potential but were dragged out so much that I lost interest.

You also find out very little about Charlie in the book, despite him being the main character. You just follow him around doing boring things that are usually totally pointless. No one being particularly surprised by his existence/job was also annoying. No this book clearly isn’t about what is realistic, but this just makes it ridiculous. It was a chance to add some realism, that would have been very welcome, but instead it’s just more nonsense.

This book tries to be “deep” and philosophical but it’s just not. I do not recommend it. It’s a shame because her first book was so good and the idea for this one was interesting, just badly executed.
Profile Image for Uli Vogel.
318 reviews6 followers
May 9, 2022
A funny, philosophical, bittersweet approach to the basic question of all existence - what is Death, and why is there an end to everything? We celebrate the beginning but shy away from accepting the end. This is my first book by the author, but definitely not my last one. She seems to have a talent to deal with Vanitas Mundi lightheartedly and lighthandedly.
I also recommend the audiobook. Brilliant speaker.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,508 reviews2,508 followers
November 22, 2017
Charlie is the Harbinger of Death, a role that involves a lot of free travel and some sticky situations. But really, it’s a job like any other:
When he got the job, the first thing he did was phone his mum, who was very proud. It wasn’t what she’d ever imagined him doing, of course, not really, but it came with a pension and a good starting salary, and if it made him happy…

The second thing he did was try and find his Unique Taxpayer Reference, as without it the office in Milton Keynes said they couldn’t register him for PAYE at the appropriate tax level.

After all, they say there are only two things you can’t avoid: death and taxes.

Charlie is Death’s John the Baptist, if you will: “I’m the one who’s sent before. … My presence is not the end. Sometimes I am sent as a courtesy, sometimes as warning. I never know which.” His destinations include Peru, Greenland, Syria, Nigeria and Mexico. In between these visitations – during which he talks to the person in question and gives them something meaningful, like tea or a figurine of a deity – Charlie strives to lead a normal life back in Dulwich with Emmi, whom he met via Internet dating.

I loved the premise for the novel, and its witty writing should appeal to Terry Pratchett and Nicola Barker fans. The more fantastical elements are generally brought back to earth by unremitting bureaucracy – I especially enjoyed a scene in which Charlie is questioned by U.S. Border officials. But the book’s structure and style got in the way for me. It is episodic and told via super-short chapters (110 of them). It skips around in a distracting manner, never landing on one scene or subplot for very long. Ellipses, partial repeated lines, and snippets of other voices all contribute to it feeling scattered and aimless. North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is terrific, but her latest didn’t live up to my expectations. Hopefully this is just a one-off; I’m willing to try more from North in the future.

Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
1,543 reviews77 followers
August 23, 2017
This novel was difficult for me. While it had this fantastic concept for a brilliant story, it really failed to gel into anything more solid, for me. Either I had some issues connecting to the author, the novel, and the characters, or it was just not as well done as I would have liked. And from the other reviews, I can see,that I'm not the only one whose feels this way about this novel.
The audiobook was made by Hachette Audio, and they used this magnificently talented narrator named Peter Kenny. Seriously, this dude is a jewel! He was able to narrate just about every single accent you could possibly think of, and many more besides this as well. Kenny was a joy to listen to, especially in the little in-between parts of the chapters, where there would be dozens of different voices from the internet, television or radio stations, all blabbing away. Luckily, Kenny has narrated many other novels, and only one of them I've heard before, so I'm happy about this.
Meanwhile, this novel..... if you want to see a fantastic review that sums up my feelings about this novel better, please see the lovely and talented Karen's page. She rocks!!:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I'm giving this novel 3.5 stars, and wishing it was better....or more put together, or something.
Profile Image for Paul Kearley.
16 reviews20 followers
September 22, 2017
I don’t normally write reviews as I’m too busy picking up the next book!
This book however deserves written credit.
After completing the booker long list this year, (and crediting it with some great literature), I found myself picking up this book, only to find it was hands down the best book I have read this year.
The concept Claire North has put together for this book should in itself be applauded, the concept of death is something that humans fear, welcome and maybe even love. The literal translation in the book could be the closest we come to understanding it.
Please, stop what you are reading and pick this book up. I genuinely hope you love it as much as I did.
Thank you Claire.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,812 reviews
April 11, 2017
I'm really disappointed with this book. I love Claire North's books, but not this one. I persevered for the first third but it didn't get any better. The concept was good as ever, but the execution appalling. The main character was annoying and unlikable. So far it seems like the book is just a vehicle to preach about social injustice and what's wrong with the world. Her writing has changed and has become literary (a criticism) and pretentious to the detriment of her normal amazing story telling.
Profile Image for carol..
1,504 reviews7,559 followers
Want to read
July 24, 2022
lovely language. narrator is a handmaiden for Death but is unsure of his role beyond harbringer. First section weaves between his memories and tracking down a man in Greenland (Iceland?) with a couple of twists. Notable because I know nothing about glacier landscape, so the beautiful descriptions resonate. The slow plotting is interwoven with incidents in the narrator's recent attempts to live a normal life and his last mission.

Put down because paper and lack of impetus. Also because the language deserves lingering.
Profile Image for Andrea.
743 reviews31 followers
July 25, 2017
3.5★

A very different novel, in a good way. I liked it quite a lot, but not as much as this author's The Sudden Appearance of Hope, which I read a few months ago, so have rated it slightly lower.

Charlie, a regular music-loving guy from Birmingham UK, has an unusual job. He is the Harbinger of Death. The one who goes before, either as a warning or a courtesy. His job takes him all over the world, with all logistics, admin and troubleshooting taken care of by Death's office staff in Milton Keynes... The job sometimes exposes Charlie to danger, but most of the time - and what he loves about it - it enables him to honour humanity, by being there towards the end.

There isn't a traditional narrative arc to this story, more of a twisty thread that weaves in and out, loosely binding the 9-10 major parts of the novel together. Each of those parts focuses mainly on one appointment in Charlie's calendar, so we do get to learn about some of his clients (?) in more depth.

Within those parts, the chapters tend to be very short and punchy - something I recognised straight away as being a Claire North trait from The Sudden Appearance of Hope. Some of those chapters (not as frequent as alternating chapters, maybe every 4th or 5th on average) are like the reading equivalent of scanning through radio stations - snippets of opinion and interaction - designed, I think, to provide context by revealing what is going on in the world at that time. I thought it was very effective, but can imagine it might annoy or frustrate some readers. And it was extremely contemporary, with Brexit featured a number of times.

I admit there was stuff going on that I didn't understand. For example, who was Patrick, why did the gender of the Horsemen and the other Harbingers change all the time, and what exactly happened there at the end? But I was reading this for enjoyment and deliberately chose not to let the questions bog me down.

Overall, I thought this was a refreshing, entertaining read.
Profile Image for Bonnye Reed.
3,905 reviews65 followers
July 30, 2017
GNab I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Claire North, and Hatchette Book Group, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work, with me.

I was really excited to receive this book for review. Our protagonist is just an ordinary guy who is hired by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse as the Harbinger of Death. What a job! But I was really intimidated after opening the file - over 8,000 words, and 110 chapters! What a read!

And a wonderful read it is. Charlie is a really likable guy, humane and empathetic and basically perfect for this job. As he carefully explains to those he visits, his presence could be one of many things - as a courtesy or as a warning of impending death - that of an individual or an idea or of an accepted social attitude or something irreplaceable in the human chain of existence. He visits, for example, Old Mother Sakinai, the last of her people who spoke a language that no one else knew. He visits a member of the KKK, who works tirelessly to promote racial inequality. He works alone, for the most part, though he does spend time an older American, a Floridian who loses everything through redundancy and wants to travel to New York City to his brother, a man who leases tools for a living. That will always be needed, good tools to work with by handy individuals when an occasional job requires them. Or will it? And he has a growing relationship with his girl, Emmi.

Charlie is a Londoner but travels all over the world for this job, travels just as we do, by plane, train and automobile. He is received in any number of ways - with disbelief or joy or resignation but mostly with acceptance, and occasionally with relief. Charlie loves to travel, enjoys meeting new people, appreciates varied social mores and fits in well with most folks. There is a down side to this job - there are people who want to control the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and think they can, though the Harbingers. And there are people who fear the Harbingers, the knowledge they acquire from those they visit. Charlie has to face some of that, as well.

All told, this is an exciting tale, told very well. I will want to keep this book, to read again soon. It is extraordinary.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
June 8, 2017
3.5*. Again Claire North wows you with her wordplay/writing/language as well as build this amazing concept around again a lovable main character 'Charlie'. I think it was a little too episodic in structure and may have with a few tweaks been better suited for a series of short stories in one self contained novel. Cant wait for her next!
Profile Image for SpookySoto.
904 reviews117 followers
March 28, 2018
Rating: Bad and boring, didn't like it 😒
Feelings:Disappointment, boredom, confusion.
Recommended if you like: Social commentary / critique in books, non linear and non traditional writing style, magical realism (sort of).
Would I read something else from this author: Yes

I have read 3 Claire North's novels counting this and is the only one I haven't like. One thing I have notice in her work is her ideas, the premise of the novels, are far better than their execution; they tend to be too long and drag a bit. In this one those aspects are more evident than in the others.

This is the story of Charlie, the harbinger of death. See, that alone sold me on this, sadly the execution was a boring mess. The novel has no plot, it is a series of vignettes of Charlie's path as a harbinger and how he start to question his role, humanity, death, everything. We meet other harbingers: famine, pestilence, war, and we even meet death himself. In this aspect I'd say the novel is more magical realism than fantasy, because nothing supernatural happens and people don't get surprise to know Charlie's job.

The writing style is weird because it has a lot of random phrases that, we can only guessed, were said by people Charlie encounter in his travels, but are placed through out the story without any context. It's very confusing.

Then we have the social commentary, in some cases the topics are interesting, but there are just too many, are too random and it all seems without any context since, as I mentioned, we don't follow a linear, structured plot.

I'm disappointed because I loved The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it is now one of my favorite books, I constantly think about it. I also liked The Sudden Appearance of Hope, so I was excited to read this, I would'n have imagined I'd be sooo bored. I will read more from Claire, her premises are so interesting to me, I hope to like my next one.

I can't recommend this.
Profile Image for Annie.
2,018 reviews95 followers
April 3, 2017
On first impression, Claire North’s stunning and strange novel, The End of the Day, is about death. Charlie is the most recent Harbinger of Death. As he explains it, he goes before as a courtesy or a warning. Through his eyes, we see good deaths and bad—and the longer you read, the more you realize that this is not a book about death so much as it is a book about empathy. I read The End of the Day in chunks over two days. I would inhale the short chapters until I could take no more of its emotional honesty and have to take a break. The breaks didn’t last too long because I just had to have more...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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