I started hearing about Claire Fuller’s Our Endless Numbered Days this winter, and knew as soon as I read the reviews and summaries that I had to get my hands on a copy. It slipped my mind though, until I found it in my favorite bookstore. I wrote about the anxiety of packing books for a cruise, but my decision to throw this in my carry on was a GREAT ONE.
Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her father, James, a retreater/survivalist takes her away from her home, and into a remote cabin in the woods called die Hutte. He tells Peggy that the world ended, and that they are the only two left in the whole world. Having practiced survival routines with James and his friends for most of her life, Peggy believes him, mourning the loss of her mother and her old life as they struggle to survive for nine years.
“Dates only make us aware of how numbered our days are, how much closer to death we are for each one we cross off. From now on, Punzel, we’re going to live by the sun and the seasons.’ He picked me up and spun me around, laughing.’Our days will be endless.”
James slowly loses his grip on reality, and Peggy does her best to maintain his moods, having only a silent piano to keep her own sanity in check. It’s also her only reminder of her mother, a renowned piano player.
As things grow increasingly tense in their cabin, and Peggy grows from a little girl into a young woman, she builds her own safe havens within the forest which has become her home. It’s not long, though, before Peggy stumbles across a shocking secret that shows her that her father might have been wrong about the rest of the world.
Our Endless Numbered Days is so well written and atmospheric in its description of the woods and Peggy’s life within it, that I was completely lost inside it. I read this in two long sittings, and each time looked up, almost confused that I wasn’t in the woods myself. I loved Peggy’s narrations, and the switches between past and present. Claire Fuller’s debut novel is absolutely stunning, and if you’re looking for a way to lose track of time and reality fast, this is the one to pick up next!