The End of the Ocean

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Member Reviews

This book has very beautiful writing as Lunde's other book. I really like reading from her. 
It's also an important book drawing attention to climate change. It's quite thought provoking in that aspect. 
The reason I give 4, but not 5 stars is, it was so long and I got really bored with all the sailing references and descriptions. I have no passion for sailing, so that's me. 
I also thought it was overly negative. 

But, it was a very well written, interesting book in the end and I totally recommend it.

Thanks a lot to the publisher and NetGalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.
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As much as I wanted to appreciate this story I couldn't, though it is an appropriate tale for our time centering around the precious element of water and our need to preserve and care for it. But, I failed to really connect with the story as I had Maja Lunde's previous stellar novel, The History of Bees. 

In The End of the Ocean we follow Signe, in our current time line of 2019, and also that of David and Lou in 2041, a world in crisis and severe drought. Signe was a scrappy character and continues to fight for what she believes in well into her seventies. A real go-getter, this made her interesting but she seemed cold and disconnected. Perhaps the result of a solitary life on Blue, her boat? Taking this into consideration she was the most likeable character and far surpassed David, and even Lou. I simply couldn't warm to the weak David and felt no sympathy for him and Lou, by extension. Though their existence in 2041 was that of a refugee, I still couldn't connect to them as I expected I would. At every turn David made poor choices and was a horrible guardian to Lou, his daughter. Even the climactic moment at the end, that was touching, failed to really reach my heart. Perhaps I am desensitized as a result of extinction rebellion who is currently running amok all over London?!?

Regardless, Maja Lunde's writing remains a real strength and her depiction of the future refugee existence is one we must strive to avoid. If anything it should soften our hearts toward refugees the world over as the future she writes of here is their current state of confusion and difficulty. Not my favorite book by Maja Lunde but certainly worth reading to appreciate the scale of climate change and a future that may await us.
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I am really sorry but this wasn't for me and I didn't really enjoy the story so I had to DNF.
Therefore I will put it as 3 stars as I do not feel I am the right person to judge the book, it just wasnt for me.
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A great story and tons of food for thought. It's one of those book that are a must read as the climate change is going to affect us all.
The style of writing was amazing and I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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The End of the Ocean is an interesting book – giving a glimpse of how the world could be after devastating droughts caused by climate change. I did struggle with this book for a couple of reasons. First, it was hugely over-written, especially anything involving sailing. I suspect Maja loves sailing and wanted to incorporate every single nautical reference possible – these sections were massively skimmable, whole pages adding nothing to the narrative. And secondly, I’m not convinced the future would ever be that bleak – yep, there’s going to be significant changes, even if we do change course, and these will cause some pain but I can’t see Europe turning into refugee camps. Still, some nice writing, solid characterisation, so better than a three, so giving a four.
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A very thought provoking read especially with climate change being so central in our lives (as it should be) haunting and sometimes difficult reading, this is a wonderful read, just as good a a history of bees, a wonderful read which I highly recommend 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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This is a disturbing book dealing with issues that are affecting us now if you look at the climate crisis with a view to the future. It is written in a very believable style, with the effect of making some of the events in the book even more unsettling.

There are two stories in the book. The story of Signe, a 70-year old climate activist who is on a mission to settle old grievances but ends up in a different situation that she planned. Hers is a story of an independent life lived through choice and dedication, and Signe's character, story and relationships are very moving. The other story is set in the near future, with David and his small daughter Lou seen as drought refugees escaping the fire that burnt down their city and split their family.

Both timelines show characters that are not always likeable but who make choices and live the consequences, and the issues explored are very thought-provoking. There are clear warnings in the stories about the inevitable failure of society in the face of climate extremes, and the overall sense of despair at what we've done to our planet is balanced with some small and beautiful moments as characters form friendships and live through crises the only way anyone ever can, one hour and one day at a time.

I didn't always like the characters and the choices they make, but put together the stories form a reflection on the issues we may face in the coming years and how we might have to deal with them. As the stories of the characters move closer together there is still hope, and that is the feeling I'm left with at the end of this impressive book.

Thanks to NetGallet and the publisher for the chance to read this book in advance.
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The End of the Ocean alternates between two timelines.  The reader sees seventy-year-old Signe in 2019 as she returns to her hometown in Norway.  Signe is a great character.  She lives alone on her boat, and has for a long time been aware of the impact that humans and industry have on the environment, including global warming, the destruction of natural habitats and the impact this has on biodiversity.  In her youth, she was involved in various protests against the way in which nature is sacrificed for industrial gain, and it felt as though she was ahead of her time, with environmental concerns around issues such as global warming really taking hold during the 1960s (to the best of my knowledge).

Even being aware of the issues, she is shocked when she returns to her hometown and sees the way in which the glacier there has reduced in size.  Of equal concern is that the glacier is being drilled in order to ship the ice abroad for use by some of the wealthiest people on the planet, with them being the only ones who could afford such an outrageous habit.  Signe is not afraid to get her hands dirty, and she sabotages the latest batch of ice.  She then sets sail, both before she can be caught, but also to confront Magnus, her former lover and the man who approved this scheme.  Her journey is perilous, but Signe is extremely capable, and I loved her no-nonsense attitude.   Throughout her journey, she looks back on her life, and the reader sees her as a young girl, then woman, with all the ups and downs that one’s life may take.  It’s a fascinating narrative, and Signe has made some difficult choices in her time.  She has the usual share of regrets, but throughout she has stayed true to her beliefs, and she is an admirable character.

Signe’s story alternates with that of David in 2041.  Forced to flee southern Europe with his daughter, Lou, he arrives at a refugee camp desperately seeking news of his wife and son from whom he became separated during their escape.  David’s is an altogether different story, although the two narratives do link up.  I didn’t find David to be a particularly likeable character, although his daughter Lou is lovely, but his story is a compelling one, particularly as the reader finds out more about the events that forced him and his family out of their home in southern Spain. 

In Lunde’s future, global warming has caused widespread drought with the equatorial zone now uninhabitable.  This causes people to seek the marginally more temperate and hospitable regions towards the poles.  While refugee camps have been set up to aid those who have had to flee their homes, the reader sees how these are deteriorating as the story progresses, with increasing demand placed upon the ever-dwindling supplies made available to refugees.  It’s a horrifying view of a future that is both possible and plausible, and not nearly distant enough.  A powerful and compelling novel.
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This book reminded me of The Overstory, by Richard Powers. I hope that's taken as a compliment, because it's certainly meant as one. 

There are two stories here, two voices: Signe and David. Signe is maybe Greta Thunberg's older cousin? She can see the beauty and the power of nature, and the risks posed by its destruction. She's prepared to change her life over the issue. 

The second story is set later in time. David and Lou are drought refugees, forced to seek shelter in a refugee camp, where resources are limited. At first they're just grateful to be there, but gradually, things deteriorate around them. 

So, like Overstory, there's a theme of environmental activism, and a sense of powerlessness for the protagonists. It's a stark reminder that we aren't doing enough. The voices are clear and distinct, and these are real people struggling with real problems and real relationships. 

I don't want to give away any spoilers. Thank you, Netgalley, for letting me read this one. It's going to stay with me.
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This is a great read that is written to make us think. The author thinks what the world might be like if we ignore climate change and the damage we are inflicting on the planet. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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We first meet Signe, it’s 2017 and this seventy-year-old Norwegian lady has come back to the village of her youth. She is tortured by her past, by her fractured relationship with her mother but more so by what has happened to this beautiful place where she once lived. For as long as anyone could remember there was the mountain which on one side became a vertical wall creating the opportunity for the Sister Falls to descend hundreds of metres toward Lake Eide. On the other side of the mountain was the River Breio, habitat of the Water Ouzel and of freshwater mussels. This idyllic spot provided a wonderful haven for animals and for the people who lived here. But then industry arrived and mechanisation – a once magnificent glacier began being mined for ice to decorate expensive drinks and the river dried up, the water having been piped away underground to provide hydroelectricity. Signe is horrified and she’s on a mission; she plans to send a message to one of the people she holds responsible.

Then we meet David and his young daughter, Lou. The year is 2041 and Europe is in the midst of a horrific drought. David worked at a water salinization plant in the South of France but he’s been forced to flee the area after a fire. It’s not yet clear exactly what happened but he’s been separated from his wife and their infant son. The pair have made their way to a camp where they plan to stay for a while and hope to reunite with the other half of their family. It appears that Europe is at war and it’s difficult to move around, but many are trying to get to the Northern European countries, where the drought doesn’t yet seem to have impacted.

These two stories are to dovetail at some point, but it’s going to take a while. In the meantime, we follow both in alternating sections, learning more about the plight of these people and of their background stories too. There are many elements to this book - it could certainly be badged an environmental novel, with its focus on the impacts of industrialisation and global warming (and I’ve seen the term cli-fi used too), but it’s also an epic tale of survival against the odds and a love story. And in some way it works on all these levels. In truth, I found it slow going in places but I was definitely gripped by the narrative even if I failed to warm to either the dour Signe or shifty David. But ultimately, I did find myself wanting to know what happens to these people and though the tenor is decidedly downbeat throughout, the open-ended final section does neatly knit the two strands together and provide some hope for the future.

This is the second novel in what is planned by the author to be a quartet of climate themed books. The first book, The History of Bees, I’ve yet to catch up with but it was an award winning piece and received rave reviews from many respected sources. I might just have to seek that one out next.
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*ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

In 2018, I picked up Maja Lunde's first novel, The History of Bees, on a whim. I had no idea that I was about to read one of my favourite books of the year - and the same is true for The End of the Ocean.

This book is just as timely and important than The History of Bees. In this, we follow Signe in 2017, an elderly woman who sails across an ocean to find her past love. In 2041, we follow David and his daughter Lou, who are refugees in a world experiencing a drought. The two storylines eventually meet in a way I didn't expect, and I would encourage readers to go into this novel with only this information.

Maja Lunde's characters are so incredibly human that I could believe this is narrative non-fiction. The plot is simmering and bubbling away in the background, but the characters are where this novel shines. 

To be sure, this is an anxiety inducing book. Human interference with the planet and climate change are two huge themes, which are effortlessly woven through the story. It isn't shoved down your throat but does give you some food for thought. 

I truly can't recommend this book enough. If you are interested in the themes, character driven stories with an engaging plot to boot, or simply enjoy Maja Lunde's writing, you simply must pick this up.
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This is an incredibly relevant story for society's actions regarding climate control, the use of non-degradable plastics and the abuse of water.

The book follows two timelines:
In 2017 we follow the story of sixty seven year old Signe who all her life has battled thoughtless industry practises that have a detrimental impact on the environment. 

And in 2041 we follow the story of David and his little girl Lou who are living in an all too realistic post-apocalyptic version of our future where drought and fires are everywhere, people have to flee northwards to camps where water, food and medicines are in severe shortage. 

I really liked the premise for this story because it really makes you think about the damage we have already caused to our planet. As I'm writing this review, the rain is falling outside and it really is something that we take for granted. But I know even just last summer we experienced a drought here in Ireland and the thoughts that droughts are becoming more and more commonplace in a country as green and typically wet as my homeland are quite frightening.

But while the premise for this story is a really interesting one ultimately I wasn't a great fan of how the story was plotted. I felt the link between the two timelines was tenuous at best; in the future timeline David and Lou discovered Signe's boat but I felt that this wasn't enough to truly connect the characters. I would have liked to have seen something more concrete in the storyline that would have made David and Lou wonder about the boat's former occupant/s or some sort of greater mirroring between their life stories.

I also found myself feeling quite frustrated by the characters. 
In Signe's timeline she spent a lot of it lamenting about time's past but I felt the way the story was revealed to the reader was quite detached and I could never truly empathise with her. 

And while I did enjoy David and Lou's storyline more than Signe's I felt underwhelmed by the descriptions of David's motivations as a character. It's hard to perfectly explain why but I think it could simply be a case of me not personally clicking with this author's writing style. 

Sadly for me this book felt underwhelming with a rushed and detached narrative despite the fabulous premise. 


*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Simon and Schuster, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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After reading The History of Bees I was keen to read this next novel. As topical as before, The End of the Ocean looks at the environmental issues we could be facing within our lifetimes if we do not do more to halt global warming. Tackling energy use, plastic consumption, rising tides and greenhouse gases, Lunde transports us to a future (within my lifetime) in which Europeans have become refugees without enough water to survive for long. 

Cleverly written with two timelines running through it, the terrifying facts of what our future could be like were written so convincingly that I didn't doubt the plausibility of Lunde's plot at all. An excellent read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Wow wow wow! What a great follow up to The history of bees! I think this is a very important read, with a very real seeming future scenario. So well written, have already pre ordered a physical copy (signed editions are available at waterstones) I recommend you do the same!
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I loved history of bees so I was eager to read this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Lunde’s prose is exquisite, a perfect showcase for the haunting and often difficult themes. In this instance the book takes a look a child-parent dynamics and mirrors it with a look at our role in global warming. It’s very clever and poignant. The dual narrative is a perfect fit, never jarring between the two threads. This is an excellent book.
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I really enjoyed reading this book despite not thinking I would. The cover and title had initially piqued my interest but upon reading the first few paragraphs I thought, ‘maybe this isn’t really my thing’. I know, I know, that’s far too soon to tell! But I am very glad to say I was wrong! 

Lunde’s characters draw you into their lives and the world around them so deeply that, between reading sessions, I found myself thinking about them. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Signe’s passion for what she believed was right, even as all she knew was changing. However, there were times I felt disappointed in her, and even David despite his dire circumstances as a father trying desperately to reunite his family. 

There were scenes that made me ache for them both with sadness and happiness. There were also scenes that left a bad taste in my mouth and made me uncomfortable as I recognised the world around me and what it could become. 

To have David’s narrative of the world Signe fought so hard to save run parallel to her fight felt totally natural in its telling and never disjointed, even when exploring subplots.
‘The End of the Ocean’ is full of things to unpack from our role in global warming to parent/child relationships and the mirroring of the two narratives explores it all wonderfully. I hope to revisit this book again!
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A moving account of what could happen to our world with rising tides and depleting rain fall. We follow two central characters as they deal with crises affecting water in their own times - how to protect a valuable resource of ecological significance when others only see profit to be made, and how to fight for survival when water has become the only resource that matters. Poignant and emotively told, these two central characters' stories intertwine like streams to form a thunderous deluge of a novel, rich in detail and emotion. Very beautiful.
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Since reading The History of Bees, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Maja Lunde’s next novel, and it does not disappoint. I read it cover to cover in one day.

The End of the Ocean is split between two timeframes – 2017, when Signe, now an old lady, sails her boat from Scandinavia to France with a cargo of glacier ice to protest at the door of Magnus, CEO of a glacial-ice harvesting company, and an old love. On her journey, Signe remembers her past, a past of protest and environmental activism.

The second timeframe is set in the 2040s, and follows David and his young daughter Lou, travelling north through the refugee camps of Europe as they try to flee the drought and reunite with David’s wife Anna and their other child, August.

The stories are heartbreaking, so close to a harsh future reality that we can imagine; the ending blends them together seamlessly and with hope. Highly highly recommended.
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This is a story about conservation, family, and personal strength. But it is primarily a story about water.

We follow Signe, a woman living in 2017 in Norway whose life has always revolved around water: from swimming in crystal clear lakes to sailing the oceans. She has tried to defend her small town against developments which will disrupt the natural beauty of its lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. We also follow David and his young daughter Lou in 2041 in France. Water is sparse, drought is all-encompassing, fires are spreading. Both Signe and David are just trying to survive; neither knows thar their stories will intertwine

This book was originally published in Norwegian in 2017 titled Blå, the Norwegian for blue. I don't think I've ever read a book set in Norway before, but I loved the setting

The setting of near-future, drought-ridden France was so tangible, I was constantly thirsty reading this as David and Lou were. Where one drop of water could mean the difference between life and death. The story was beautifully written and I could feel the struggles of all of the characters

The tone of it, of David's post-apocalyptic chapters especially, reminded me a little of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. It is a small, quiet story of the lives of two people and the greater impact small decisions can make on our own lives and those of the people who will come after us

I really liked the father-daughter relationship between David and Lou. Lou was written as a believable child, which cannot be said of many children in fiction. The actions and behaviours of all of the characters were believable, which really brought the story to life and allowed me to become fully submerged within it

This book isn't set to be published until 31st October 2019 but I'd highly recommend picking it up when it comes out. If you enjoy literary fiction, quiet character-driven plots, and speculative fiction such as The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and Station Eleven then I think you'll enjoy this
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