Cover Image: The End of the Ocean

The End of the Ocean

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

A timely book considering the current climate crisis. The book is set in two different timelines, 2019 and 2041. In 2019 we find Signe, a climate activist in her 70s living in Norway and in 2041 we follow David and Lou, a father and daughter living in a refugee camp due to extreme drought and lack of water. 

Signe was an interesting character and I liked her tenacious spirit and dedication. Who isn’t going to love a woman that tries to sail across the ocean single handedly? Her character felt credible considering her life experiences and motivations. 

However, I couldn’t engage with David’s character at all. I found the choices he made were bizarre and he was just an all-round horrible father to Lou.   

Water is the key theme running through this book, from Signe’s childhood recollections of swimming and the erosion of the glacier to David and Lou’s desperation to have access to it. This is a book to make us stop and think about the current trajectory humanity finds itself on and what steps we should take to change it. 

It’s well-written and the message is important but I'm always going to struggle with a book in which I dislike one of the two main characters.
Was this review helpful?
The plot is a second part in what is planned to be a quartet of books relating to the human condition and climate change. We first meet Signe in 2019, and then David and his daughter Lou in 2041, and what may seem unlikely is that these two stories will eventually come together as the story progresses. Signe is on a journey to find the love of her life, David and Lou are trying to find the rest of their family who have been separated by war. What they find along their journey are Signe's things from her journey.
Evocative prose and a heartwarming story, the reader will experience the emotions of all of the protagonists; hope, despair, longing and heartbreak.
As with The History of Bees, this is a climate story but it is also a human story.
I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
This story follows two characters in two different timelines.  The older timeline is following a woman who is an environmentalist and is fighting to keep the ice in the northern countries.  It follows her relationship from childhood with Magnus.  He disappoints her by becoming involved with the business society of the modern world and forgetting what was in important to the Earth.  To prove a point she steals some ice that he is deporting for the use of drinks in this high society and sails across the sea to show it to him.  The newer timeline follows a young father and his daughter during the world's biggest drought.  He worked in "desalinity" (if that's even a word) and as the oceans started to dry up and spontaneous fires ignited across the country he had to flea to find a place that was cooler and with water.  Along the way he looses track of his wife and son and plan to wait at a refugee camp for them.  The atmosphere becomes tense among the refugees as water and food become even more scarce.  He and his daughter takes walks away from the camp and find a boat.
The story telling of this book is amazing!  I really enjoyed reading it.  A lot of the way through I was curious as to how these timelines interlinked.  I'm glad I stuck with the curiosiity because the way that they do is truly beautiful.
Was this review helpful?
A speculative work of fiction told in two time lines that talk of the importance of Evology and conservation and examines the deep inner strength and family ties we hold as humans. How we have the strength to constantly battle the adversities that get in our way. This book tells us the story of three people Signe in 2017 Norway and David and Lou in France 2041.
Signe spends time involved in Cinservation and in protests to stop construction of developments that destroy nature. 
2041, David and Lou are living in a post apocalyptic France, a drought covers Europe and food ,water and medicine are in short supply where chaos and destruction reign.
This book comes as a timely warning and is definitely a book for now as we face a sure destruction of our planet if countries leaders do not reduce the emissions their countries produce. This characters in this book are both passionate and driven , but I can't help thinking this was written as a timely warning and a call to action.
Was this review helpful?
A story that brings up modern problems such as lack of water, an increase in the accumulation of waste and climate change. Narrated by two different people- one living in today's word and other from the future (2041), 'The End of the Ocean' is an eye-opener.
Signe, angry and frustrated, narrates a story that is her life, a battle with people who are degrading the environment. David and Lou, in 2041, are in a refugee camp in drought-stricken Europe.
The story eventually connects Signe and David created a circle that completes the story. But it's the plot I had an issue with. While it was important, it wasn't convincing enough. The characters felt misplaced and at some point, it was really hard to understand them.
The premise is such a great one, but I wish the execution wasn't so disappointing.A
Was this review helpful?
Following two points of view as the effects of the melting ice have impacts on two different people. 
This was a quiet look at the devastating, yet very likely effects of global warming.


It was a brilliant peaceful yet horrifying look at what could very plausibly happen in a non-peaching manner.
Was this review helpful?
Since finishing it, I've spent a little while thinking about this book and my review. I'd previously read and thoroughly enjoyed Lunde's The History of Bees so was excited for what this book would hold. 

The End of the Ocean is told from two perspectives across time: in 2017, Signe is in her seventies and returns to her native Norweigen village, stirring up memories of her fractious life there decades before where she fought alongside her father to save the environment, more specifically, to prevent nearby water formations (glaciers, waterfalls) being overtaken by technology and development. We then jump 24 years into the future (2041) where we meet David and his daughter Lou who are trying to traverse Europe to escape a civilisation-ending drought but in the course of doing so have been separated from the rest of the family -- David's wife and son, mother and brother to Lou, Anna and August -- following a house fire. 

The story covers the trials and tribulations of Signe's past and David's present: looking at the individual fight each character, and their loved ones, have to face. In terms of positives, the standard of writing was again extremely high and I cannot fault Lunde's efforts in weaving a story. Ultimately, I think for me, it came down to not 100% gelling with either character. David was a little irritating, and I didn't fully understand his choices at times, but I appreciate the challenge this creates for the reader in terms of appreciating an alternative view. I very recently read another book with a related but inverted premise: about the world becoming overwhelmingly flooded (After The Flood by Kassandra Montag) and I can draw parallels with my feelings on that book. I didn't completely gel with or understand the choices of some of those characters either but both books illustrate how, when times are desperate, people can act in a way that doesn't seem sensible right now. 

Toward the end, the two stories converge but it took a while to get there and the book felt slow-going at times. However, I did want to see how things turned out. I was saddened by what we discover about Anna and August, and I was warmed by hope by the discovery that David and Lou make at the hands of Signe. Overall, I sadly cannot say it was a very 'exciting' read, certainly not as much as The History of Bees was for me but it is an important topic and I do enjoy Lunde's writing. I will certainly be interested to see where she may go next.
Was this review helpful?
Just wow. I much preferred the story of David and Lou but both strands kept me wanting more. Such a great read and hard to write about without destroying the plot. The stories of the refugee camps, the war behind them and the closed borders in front, the food and water rationing, the lack of anything stable really made me think more deeply about current refugee situations around the world. Heartbreaking.
Was this review helpful?
I was pleased to have the chance to read this, having enjoyed the thought-provoking The History of Bees.
This time Maja Lunde is addressing global warming and what will happen as water becomes a scarce resource, mainly available only in the far north and far south of the planet.
The book is set in present day where 70-year-old Signe is sailing her boat to see an old friend with a precious cargo, and remembering her past. She has been a journalist and activist all her life, and has been very aware of how big business/greedy people have been squandering and spoiling finite resources. The descriptions of her life at sea were very compelling, especially when encountering a storm, and it’s just her against the force of nature.
In 2041 David and his daughter Lou are in southern Europe, where drought conditions have prevailed for years. They are fleeing to a camp where they hope to find safety and water, and be reunited with his wife and baby son. The story of how life has broken down, and anarchy has started to prevail rings very true, as does the essential kindness of some humans.
The two stories start to come together when David and Lou find a boat in the garden of a deserted farmhouse.

The whole book is essential reading, but depressing, and the ending did not give me much hope for the future.

(The “American” translation was annoying in places, I hate the use of  “Mom” and “Mommy”, but that’s just me)

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster UK for the opportunity to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book has two different timelines running throughout; the first follows Signe in 2017 who is a type of environmental activist who returns to her childhood home and is distraught to find the glacier being mined for the ice and she does whatever she can to stop it. The second time line follows David and his daughter Lou in 2041 during a horrific drought as they are separated from his wife and other son and have to survive in a refugee camp that is running low on all food and water and medicine.
This is an extraordinary story of survival, loss and determination and although I found it to be a bit slow in some places I enjoyed the plot and really felt for all the characters in a time where this book could be extremely relevant towards current climate issues.
I connected more with David and Lou's story as it was more interesting to get through but Signe's parts slightly bored me and the ending for her was quite anti climatic. Also I wish there was more of a connection between the two stories than just the boat David finds that belonged to Signe. However, the ending neatly ties up both stories and overall it is a good read.
Was this review helpful?
Maja Lunde has a way of pulling you into her writing from the very first line. The world of this novel is a future dystopia where there is endless drought and salt water is rapidly becoming the only water available. This is an earth where society as we know it has gradually collapsed leading to water wars and mass migration to countries where fresh water still exists. We meet a man and his daughter making their way to a refugee camp for those in France wanting to move further north. Our narrator has lost his wife and baby son somehow in the chaos, but they have arranged to meet at a particular camp. They are dirty, exhausted and the sun is constantly beating down. He blames himself for his inaction, constantly staying put, refusing to believe his country had come to this and now he is just one of a multitude trying to reach the same goal.

 Lunde gives us the wider picture of the world but also brings it home to us in tiny every day details. It is these small details that also show us the relationship between father and daughter. The showers at the camp are subject to rationing and he has to explain to Lou that the first squirt of water is to wet her hair and body, then she must use the soap to scrub herself, followed by two more spurts to fully rinse off. Later he notices dirt in the creases of her neck and considers how much easier it would be if she were a boy, then he could go into the same shower and help.

Further North in Scandinavia we meet Signe, an older woman who is, by her own admission, invisible to most people. She lives where ice is in abundance for now and she watches with anger as companies sell it off and ship it out for rich people to put in their drinks. Even now, there are some willing to get rich exploiting the worlds remaining resources. Seeing her once magnificent birthplace full of glaciers being reduced to a dry desert makes her so angry that she is determined to make her feelings known to those she holds responsible. 

While we read alternating chapters and learn more about these characters and their back stories, the over-arching narrative is that of climate change and ecological destruction. I didn’t fully identify with the characters because I think the earth is meant to be the main character. The individual characters are there to show us the detail of what climate change might mean for us. It’s about making the crisis relatable and showing us how our current lifestyles will slowly create this dystopia where water is such a scarce resource there is mass migration and we would be living purely at subsistence level. Rather than identify with the characters I identified with the crisis. It’s slow going but a love story does emerge and as the two strands of the story weave together there is a seed of hope for the future. This is a book that makes you think and is part of the series that started with The History of Bees. It certainly has impact and might make you think about how your household would cope in these conditions and what part you can play in preventing them.
Was this review helpful?
"The End of the Ocean" follows two timelines, with two different sets of characters: the first is the elderly environmental campaigner Signe in 2017; the second is that of David and his daughter Lou in 2041. 

Signe's story deals with her protests against the extraction of glacial ice for drinking water and her concern about its impact on the environment. In the future, somewhere in France, David and Lou's story unfolds in a post-apocalyptic France, where the consequences of the extraction on the environment and the climate have unfolded catastrophically. 

I love a dystopian / post-apocalyptic work of fiction, and this one is gripping, with beautifully realised characters, and pertinent concerns. We have never been more aware of the effects of climate change and our impact on the environment, and this timely novel is all the more frightening for that: a future like the one David and Lou are inhabiting doesn't feel impossible at all. 

I would definitely recommend this novel - I actually haven't read Maja Lunde's other novel, but will assuredly be doing so in the very near future. This book tackles huge and important topics as well as themes such as family, separation, climate anxiety, and the consequences of our actions on the future, and in the hands of a less capable author, it could have sunk, but Maja Lunde manages it deftly and with real skill. A beautiful and terrifying novel. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
A fabulous story of what the future of our planet could be like if we don't do something to address the major issues of climate change.
A well written book with lovely characterisation and gives the reader plenty of food for thought.
Was this review helpful?
The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde is Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi) at its best and most stark. At its best, because everything that happens feels as though they are the reasonable consequences of what we are predicted now; most stark, because this is truly a terrible version of the future.

In the present day(2019), 69 year old environmental activist Signe discovers that her home town, and in particular her ex-boyfriend, is responsible for cutting up and shipping off ice from their glacier to sell to the rich, so that they can have glacial ice in their expensive cocktails. She decides to sabotage the shipment, and steals some of it - or what she can carry in her boat. She sails her ship through a terrible storm with the intention of taking it to the person responsible.

In 2041, David and his daughter Lou, arrive at a refugee camp after escaping from war and fire in their French home. There is little water and food, but David is hopeful that his wife and infant son (who they’ve been separated from) will be there or arrive soon.

The two stories are linked when David and Lou find Signe’s boat in the garden of one of the abandoned houses.

This is such a powerful book. It takes current scientific research and arrives at the extreme end of its prediction: drought, famine and war. I had to read it in short chunks, because I found the story so moving and intensely depressing, to be honest. It doesn’t feel exaggerated: I didn’t read it thinking “Well that would NEVER happen”. It’s all too plausible, in fact. I really liked how the two stories ran parallel to one another and joined up in the latter half of the book, with the boat as some sort of symbol of hope.

It’s not all depressing though. There is an element of hope, and we see the enduring strength of the human spirit. I have The History of Bees on my bookshelf, which I will read now - and I’ll definitely look out for the third in this quartet of books.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster UK for my copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Have a glass of water ready.
Two time zones but easily understandable. Beautifully written, descriptions made you cold, thirsty, hot and cold. Love books in extreme climates and this is certainly one of them. Characters were all synthetically written. A few unanswered questions, where did supplies from the camp come from and what was happening in other countries? left to the imagination.
Ending tidied things together very well.
Moving and a modern day warning.
Was this review helpful?
This was great; readable, and a real page turner.  I really found myself intrigued from the first.  A great read, and one which I would recommend.  I love Lunde's writing.
Was this review helpful?
The End of the Ocean, Maja Lunde's sophomore novel, is a speculative fiction epic about conservation, ecology, climate change, family ties, the deep inner strength we all have as human beings and, most of all, water. Initially published in 2017 in Norwegian, this a book about survival and the desire human beings have to struggle through the often overwhelming obstacles and the adversity that stands in their way. It centres around three characters in particular: Signe, David and Lou. Signe's story is based in 2017 Norway whilst father-daughter duo David and Lou are living in France circa 2041. Signe involves herself in conservation and fights to stop prospective developments that would spoil the natural beauty of the local area and the destruction of waterfalls, lakes and glaciers. David and Lou who are living in post-apocalyptic times are making their way through a Europe in decay and utter chaos; food, water and medicine are all in short supply and the drought is creating tension between the people.

This is an important and timely book about a topic we are hearing so much more about now. Our ecological systems are dying and we must look for ways to try and save our planet before it is too late. It's an exciting read but chilling too as it is all too real; there is the distinct possibility we could end up in this situation in the future if we don't take action to remedy the issues. Both Signe and David are passionate, hopeful and hearty and you take them to your heart very quickly. The book immerses you so well into both of these times with one in the recent past and one in the not too distant future. These two interlinked accounts are emotive and affecting from the beginning and Lunde projects our fears for us all to see. This is a tale rich in intricate detail and a wake-up call to change glaciers before it is no longer possible. Beautifully written, we are treated to a superb, engaging work of fiction that, terrifyingly, could actually become reality. Many thanks to Scribner for an ARC.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Simon and Schuster U.K./Scribner for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The End of the Ocean’ by Maja Lunde in exchange for an honest review.

This work of speculative fiction was originally published in Norway in 2017 as ‘Blå’ (Blue) and translated by Diane Oakley. It is the second in Lunde’s planned Climate Quartet. 

The novel is set in two time periods. In 2041 David and his young daughter, Lou, have fled from their home. Southern Europe is in the grip of a drought and war has devastated the region. They have become separated from his wife, Anna, and baby August.

In 2017 67-year old Signe returns to the small has Norwegian village where she grew up and is deeply disturbed by the environmental changes linked to the nearby glacier. Later, she undertakes a hazardous solo voyage in her sailboat, Blue, while recalling events from her earlier life.

Their stories link when David and Lou find Signe’s boat in a French garden, miles away from the shore.

According to the author’s website the 2041 scenario links to the desperate conditions depicted in Taos’ story in ‘The History of Bees’, although fifty years earlier and in Europe. The lack of fresh water provides the major source of conflict and despair.

Lunde creates an all too possible near future. Water is something that we take for granted and this novel emphasises that it may not always be so.

‘The End of the Ocean’ is a serious literary, character-driven novel, that was quite meditative. Its central premise focusing upon changes to the environment triggered by climate change and pollution is one of vital importance. I was heartened by Signe’s environmental activism that had extended throughout her life.

I found it quite a heartbreaking, melancholic novel as is fitting its themes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see ‘The End of the Ocean’ nominated for the 2020 International Booker Prize.

Having read this I now plan to read her ‘The History of Bees’ and look out for further works in Lunde’s Climate Quartet.

Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
The End Of The Ocean was a timely and brilliant novel as Lunde examined what the world would be like if the water just simply disappeared, the weather no longer changeable but hot and arid.
Its structure flitted easily between the past and the present, Signe, the past in 2017, David the future, 2041.
Signe, the young headstrong girl who grew up the daughter of parents with a wide chasm of believes and ethics, a marriage fractured and torn about by the devastating effects the advancement of renewable energy and commercialism had in their native Norway. Signe was the activist, who could see into the future, her Father’s child, a lover of nature and wildlife who resented the erosion of her local glacier and lake. Her’s was also a story of love, one that got away, was ripped apart, yet one in which she never moved on from, one that always stayed within her. I loved her ‘journey’, Lunde’s description of her boat, of the wild and wonderful scenery of Signe’s native Norway, of Signe’s passion and determination.
David, thrown into a future, trying to survive, water scarce, the sun relentless and hot. Here was a young Father, in search of his wife and young son, his daughter Lou his sole responsibility, one that you felt drove his determination to survive. You felt he was a man conflicted, between his love for his wife, but also the need to seek comfort in those that he met, to cast of his responsibilities and to live the life of a young single man. It was their relentless need for water that dominated and the cross over between his life and Signe’s that was the real star of the novel.
You couldn’t help but recoil in horror at what Signe tried to prevent and the devastating consequences that David and the rest of the world had to contend with. It is a world that you just cannot comprehend. That is what I so loved about this novel, Lunde’s capacity to write a story that had elements of danger, tension and drama but also one that was utterly thought provoking and almost real.
Great characters, great narrative and a novel that will raise lots of questions.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the sound of this and it seemed well timed with Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellion movement and protests. In parts the characters seemed well developed, such as the relationship between David and Lou (parent and child) and how they coped with some of the challenges that they faced. The storyline with Signe and Magnus seemed repetitive. Parts of the story were beautiful but other parts seemed too slow paced.  Very mixed feelings about this one.
Was this review helpful?