Author : Louise Swanson
Title : End of Story
Pages : 320
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : March 23, 2023
Source : Netgalley
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
It’s the year 2035 and fiction has been banned by the government for five years. Writing novels is a crime. Reading fairytales to children is punishable by law.
Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.
But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding? And who can be trusted?
| MY THOUGHTS |
As a bookworm, the scenario unfolding in Louise Swanson’s novel ‘End of Story‘ is the stuff of nightmares. Imagine a world without fiction. A world where being a fiction author is a crime, where reading stories to your children is a crime. It’s not too far-fetched, if you really think about it. Stories are already being edited (just look at the words of Roald Dahl’s books being changed), some books are already being banned in some places, and some libraries in Florida are empty. And it’s just not books. What about TV shows being canceled? Is fiction really that dangerous or offensive? More importantly, will Louise Swanson (aka Louise Beech) make me cry again?
The year is 2035. Fiction has been banned, and Fern is a criminal. As a former author, she was forced to retrain in a job outside of the arts. But she’s risking everything by scribbling in her notebook, telling us her story, trying to give us a picture of what her life looks like right now. From her job at the hospital to her work on a banned phone line reading bedtime stories to children, from visits from government officials checking up on her to a little boy called Hunter, and a mysterious salesman selling tea.
To be honest, if I could have gotten away with not writing a review for ‘End of Story‘, I probably would have. I had no idea what this story was about. I went in completely blind, and I feel you should too. Basically I’m saying to stop reading my review 😉. On top of that, as I sit here trying to get across how brilliant this book is, I also realise it’s hard not to give anything away. There may be moments where you frown (A lot. My forehead isn’t happy, let me tell you.) There may be moments where you think WTF, moments where you feel things just aren’t making sense. But you must stick with it, and I promise you it will all be worth it at the end of the story. See what I did there?
This author has already proven multiple times in the past she can jump seamlessly from one genre to another, often even in the same book. The settings may change, and the genre may change, it doesn’t matter. That beautiful writing remains the same, always. It was remarkably easy to become completely invested in these characters’ lives, because that’s another thing Louise Swanson does so well. Draw these completely realistic characters, who will seemingly jump out of the pages at any second and start talking to you face to face. That’s how real they feel. I felt immediately drawn to Fern. I felt sorry for her, I wanted her to find a way to stand up and take back her old life, I wanted her to write and somehow convince people that fiction is necessary. That imagination is a wonderful thing, a means to escape from reality, a way for people to connect, and even learn. However, I also completely understood how frightened she and others were of being caught, and maybe even punished somehow.
To me, the idea of banning fiction and the arts is a far more dangerous notion than fiction itself could ever be. ‘End of Story‘ is immensely thought-provoking in that respect. There’s more to it than that, though. And while I figured it out quite early on, it didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. That’s down to the power of Louise Swanson’s writing. ‘End of Story‘ is a compelling, utterly engrossing and often heartbreaking tale of having to deal with the loss of things you love. I have no qualms in saying that I think this might just be this author’s best book to date, and considering what’s come before that’s saying quite a lot. For those dying to know if tears were shed, the answer is not quite. But man, it was close and even as I write this review, and think back to the story and how it made me feel, there’s a lump in my throat. Louise may change her name, and Louise may continue to hop between genres … one thing will apparently always remain the same. She will rip out your heart and stomp all over it.
Louise Swanson/Beech is an absolute force to be reckoned with in the world of books. I have a feeling ‘End of Story‘ is one of those novels I will not be forgetting in a hurry. I’m pretty sure these jumbled thoughts of mine don’t do this book justice at all, but really, all I can say is I highly recommended it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Amazon UK [will be published on march 23rd]
My thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I didnt know before reading this review but now I do know… I need this book! It would be pure horror that a world would exist without books or the free will to read! Amazing review Eva!
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Wow amazing review!
I can’t even imagine a world without books…my house would be empty!
That sounds intriguing. Amazing review!
Fantastic review! I agree with you that it is key to go in blind to feel the full effect of this story… WHAT a read it was! I struggled so much to write a proper review after finishing End Of Story… It was simply mindblowing; even before the whole story was turned on its head.
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Wow, a world without books or fiction, impossible. It is actually scary to think about. Wonderful review Eva. It reminds me a bit of the musical We Will Rock You where there is a world without music and it is frightful.
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