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432 pages, Kindle Edition
First published April 4, 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.
"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 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."
"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."
"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.
Death comes. Death comes, but first the Harbinger comes before.
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.
“I go before, and everywhere I go, you know the thing that amazes me?”
“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.”
Everyone sees their own Death, their own way. Everyone hears Death in their own manner.
He comes, Death comes to us all, in the end.
"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."
“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 …”
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.