Where the World Ends
“Where the World Ends is a beautiful, sorrowful, poignant book with deeply drawn characters, a chilling atmosphere, and waves of emotion. Highly recommended . . .”
“It was a blade-sharp August day, the sea burned black by the sun’s brightness. And no, there were no omens hinting at trouble ahead. Hirta people notice such things. The clouds did not split open and let fall drops of blood: someone would have remembered that. No sinister bird settled on anyone’s roof. A gull flew over and dropped its mess on Mr. Cane—but that was nothing out of the ordinary. (Who wouldn’t, if they could?) But no signs, no dread omens.”
The year was 1727. A dozen people—three men, nine boys—headed out on a dangerous and thrilling adventure. Every year the town sent a group to the Warrior Stac, a rocky island off the coast, to hunt birds and harvest the meat, feather, and oil necessary to get them through the year. This time, Quill was a part of the team, one of the older boys, a leader. Once on the rock, Quill noticed one of the boys climbing around, as if he preferred it to home.
“Why, thought Quill, when one wrong step, and the place will kill you? But having thought it, he felt a sudden superstitious need not to think ill of the Stac. It did not mean anyone any harm. It was not a living thing, only a slab of rock in a big, cold ocean at the edge of the world.”
But whether it is the Stac or fate or demons, harm does come to them. The boat, which was to retrieve them after three weeks, does not return. There is no way to get home. No way to know why they had been left to die. Was it the rapture? Had they been forgotten?
Weeks turn to months, and the boys and men must figure out how to survive— and how to live with each other. Quill tries to keep his family and sweetheart alive in his mind, but it gets more difficult as time passes and home feels even farther away.
“Quill saw the boys close their eyes and check inside their eyelids for memories of friends and family; he knew that was what they were doing, because he had just done it himself. Remembered pictures are like water: the harder you try to hold on to them, the more surely they run away. He did not know what to say to John: it is unbearable to lose the memory of a face.”
Will someone ever come to get them? Will they live to see that day? Quill is uncertain how to keep the band working together—and how to keep them alive.
Where the World Ends is a beautiful, sorrowful, poignant book with deeply drawn characters, a chilling atmosphere, and waves of emotion. Highly recommended for anyone who likes an adventure, complex relationships, and interesting detail.