Our Endless Numbered Days
Written by Claire Fuller
Publication Date March 01, 2015
Watch for Claire Fuller’s newest novel, Swimming Lessons, coming January 2016
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize for Best First Novel
"Both shocking and subtle, brilliant and beautiful, a poised and elegant work that recalls the early work of Ian McEwan in the delicacy of its prose and the way that this is combined with some very dark undertones." — Desmond Elliott Prize Jury
In the tradition of Winter’s Bone and The Outlander, Our Endless Numbered Days is a powerful and mysterious debut about a father and his eight-year-old daughter who abandon their family to live alone in the forest for nine years.
In 1976 Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children, and listening to her mother’s grand piano. But her life is about to change.
Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions to prepare for the end of the world, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. She is not seen again for another nine years.
In 1985, Peggy has returned to the family home. But what happened to her in the forest? And why — and how — has she come back now? Our Endless Numbered Days is the most unputdownable and extraordinary novel you will read this year.
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize for Best First Novel 2015
CLAIRE FULLER was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1967. She received a degree in sculpture from Winchester School of Art, but went on to have a long career in marketing and didn’t start writing until she was forty. Her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, won the Desmond Elliot Prize and was a finalist for the ABA Adult Debut Novel Award and the Edinburgh International Book Festival Award. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children.
"I finished this book and turned right back to the first page to start it again. Like the wilderness into which Claire Fuller's characters disappear, Our Endless Numbered Days is rigged with barbs and poisons, tricks and tragedies. It’s weird and wild and sometimes terrifying, but it’s also beautiful and heartbreaking and breathlessly alive." Amy Stewart, author of New York Times Bestseller The Drunken Botanist
"Graciously written and capriciously imagined, Our Endless Numbered Days holds up a magnifying lens to the human spirit and deftly captures both its fragility and its resilience. The brilliant ending, like the best endings do, casts new light on all that comes before it." Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls
"Our Endless Numbered Days is suspenseful, utterly riveting, and as dark as midnight in the forest." Rebecca Hunt, author of Everland and Mr. Chartwell
"This young girl’s harrowing experience growing up in the wilderness and living only with her father establishes that what’s more terrifying than the perils of nature is being made captive by the ideals of one’s parents. The lasting impression of Our Endless Numbered Days, which gracefully seesaws back and forth between two different time periods, however, is not one of how horrid an experience can be, but how resourceful and resilient the human psyche can become in order to survive. Fuller eschews the conventional means of providing labored explanations of emotions, and in its place deftly relies on the power of description to invoke genuine feeling. The result is beautiful. It will keep you turning the pages, and long afterwards it will keep you turning over in your mind the events in this haunting story." Yannick Murphy, author of The Call and This Is the Water
"A remarkable first novel. I was much impressed by the conviction of the child’s-eye view, the vivid climate, and the power of the narrative." Penelope Lively
"You don’t really know what’s going on in this surreal psychological thriller until the OMG–worthy denouement. Eight-year-old Peggy is kidnapped by her survivalist father, who tells her the world has come to an end and keeps her prisoner in a deserted cabin. The true horror of what happens to Peggy, a survivalist of a different stripe, emerges only in the final pages. Prepare yourself." Flare
"Fuller’s book has the winning combination of an unreliable narrator and a shocking ending." Publishers Weekly
"Both shocking and subtle, brilliant and beautiful, a poised and elegant work that recalls the early work of Ian McEwan in the delicacy of its prose and the way that this is combined with some very dark undertones." Desmond Elliott Prize Jury