The End of the Day by Claire North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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. :)
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