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Megan Hunter (1) (1984–)

Autor(a) de The End We Start From

Para outros autores com o nome Megan Hunter, veja a página de desambiguação.

2 Works 591 Membros 57 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: Megan Hunter

Obras de Megan Hunter

The End We Start From (2017) 438 cópias, 42 resenhas
The Harpy: A Novel (2020) 153 cópias, 15 resenhas


Conhecimento Comum



Kurze Inhaltsangabe
Lucy und Jake Stevenson leben mit ihren beiden Söhnen am Rande einer wohlhabenden Kleinstadt in England. Während Jake täglich zur Universität pendelt, arbeitet Lucy von zu Hause aus und kümmert sich um die Kinder. Doch eines Nachmittags zerstört ein Anruf die Familienidylle: Jemand möchte Lucy wissen lassen, dass Jake eine Affäre mit einer Arbeitskollegin hat. Das Paar beschliesst zusammenzubleiben, trifft aber eine Vereinbarung als Ausgleich für den Verrat: Lucy wird sich drei Mal an Jake rächen – und er weiss nicht, wann und auf welche Weise. Während die beiden sich auf ein subtiles Spiel um Verbrechen und Strafe einlassen, beginnen sich Lucys Körper und Geist allmählich zu verändern, die Grenzen zwischen Wahn und Wirklichkeit verschwimmen – eine Verwandlung, die sich nicht mehr aufhalten lässt.… (mais)
ela82 | outras 14 resenhas | Mar 23, 2024 |
A story about marriage, infidelity, motherhood, identity, abuse and forgiveness written in a beautiful way. The author encapsulated the feelings of things really well.
The ambiguous ending did bring the rating down for me though.
spiritedstardust | outras 14 resenhas | Oct 8, 2023 |

At one level, this beguiling debut novel(la) by Megan Hunter can be enjoyed as a work of science fiction, or even as a Mieville-like piece of "new weird". Its setting is a contemporary London made strange by an inexplicable environmental phenomenon - the waters are rising, swallowing cities and towns and bringing about social mayhem. Right at the onset of the deluge, the narrator gives birth to a son - Z. Days later, mother and child have to head to the North to avoid the advancing waters. What follows is a sort of "Baby's First Album" with a post-apocalyptic twist, the child's perfectly natural struggle for survival mirrored by society's attempt to adapt to a new way of life. The link between the two lies in the recurring water imagery - Z's birth in the very first page is marked, of course, by a "breaking of the waters" ("I am waterless, the pool of myself spreading slowly past my toes") reflecting the ominous "waters" which are threatening the city. The novella is, in a way, a celebration of new motherhood but, thanks to its dystopian backdrop, it eschews sentimentality leaving only a warm, essential humanity.

Going through earlier reviews of this book, I noted that several readers were put off by the spareness of the prose; others were struck by a sense that the premise of the novel was not fully realised. Admittedly, several details are left undefined and the plot (if one can speak of one) could be summarised in a half-page paragraph (in large font...). However, I felt that Hunter was aiming for the pregnant conciseness of poetry, preferring metaphor and allusion to a more typical working-out of characters and storyline. (She is, after all, a published poet). Indeed, I often found myself re-reading certain passages, delighted by a surprising image or turn of phrase.

I also think that there is in the writing a deliberate attempt to reference mythological storytelling, and to make of this tale a sort of universal parable. Thus, although we get to share some of the characters' most intimate moments, they are only identified by a letter (for instance, the narrator's husband is "R", his parents "G" and "N"). We know that the boy is named "Zeb" (which, incidentally, means "wolf", surely no coincidence) but from then on he is referred to as "Z" (last letter of the alphabet - possibly, the end we start from?) The mythical element is also emphasized through strange italicized passages interspersed in the text, which seem to mimic Biblical apocalyptic imagery - just to give a taste:

In these days we shall look up and see the sun roaming across the night and the grass rising up. The people will cry without end, and the moon will sink from view

I read the book in a couple of sittings but I suspect that, like poetry, it merits to be revisited for it to further reveal its mysteries.
… (mais)
JosephCamilleri | outras 41 resenhas | Feb 21, 2023 |
In her debut novel(la) The End We Start From, Megan Hunter imagines a post-apocalyptic scenario where waters are inexplicably rising, laying waste to towns and cities. Many critics read in it a timely warning about climate change. However, there was also a sub-text to the novella which one could easily overlook – I interpreted The End We Start From as a celebration of motherhood and the sense of hope that a new birth brings with it.

The theme of motherhood also looms large in Megan Hunter’s second novella The Harpy, but here it is conveyed in much darker and more pessimistic hues. Indeed, The Harpy is an indictment of a patriarchal society that first expects women to be faithful wives, perfect mothers and dutiful homemakers and then sidelines them precisely for having fulfilled these expectations. In the novella, this critique of patriarchy is eventually extended to comprise the theme of domestic violence and the way that “forgiveness” is expected of (female) victims as a means to maintain the status quo. This widening of the theme leads to some loss of focus, but the work’s message remains a powerful one.

If, in her first novella, Hunter gave her personal twist to the post-apocalyptic genre, here she ventures into “domestic thriller” territory, albeit laced with mythical elements and more than a twist of horror.

Since her childhood, Lucy, the novella's protagonist is fascinated by harpies – legendary creatures of vengeance, birds with a female face and torso, “their eyes pale slits, their hair thick black lines, flying in shapes behind their heads”. At University, Lucy opts for Classics and chooses harpies as an object of research. Years later, now settled down with her husband Jake and tethered to a daily routine of caring for their two young boys, the harpies seem like a long-forgotten obsession. Until, that is, Lucy learns that Jake has been sleeping with a work colleague, Vanessa. Older, sophisticated and unblemished by child-bearing or rearing, Vanessa seems everything that Lucy is not. Jake admits to his infidelity and agrees to submit himself to an exemplary punishment. Thus begins Lucy’s change into the mythical harpy.

The Harpy manages to be at the same time a hyper-realist portrayal of the frustrations within a contemporary family and a mythical tale ripe with symbolism, told throughout in Hunter’s trademark poetic prose. The final pages are particularly haunting as the distinction between fantasy and reality becomes increasingly blurred. Some passages are not for the faint-hearted – but, given the subject-matter, some disturbing images are hardly out of place.

This is another strong showing from Megan Hunter. Clearly, the success of her debut was no fluke!

(An illustrated review can be found at: https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-harpy-by-megan-hunter.html )
… (mais)
JosephCamilleri | outras 14 resenhas | Feb 21, 2023 |



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½ 3.4

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