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Hermione Merwyn leads a pleasant, quiet life with her father, in the farthest corner of England. All is as it should be, though change is sure to come. For she and her sister have reached the age of marriage, but that can be no great adventure when life at home has already been so bountiful.

When Samuel Lynchhammer arrives in Cornwall, having journeyed the width of the country, he is down to his last few quid and needs to find work for his keep. Spurned by the most successful mine owner in the county, Gavin Tadcaster, Samuel finds work for Gavin's adversary, Sir Lawrence Merwyn.

Can working for Sir Lawrence, the father of two young women on the cusp of their first season to far away London, be what Samuel needs to help him resolve the reasons for his running away from his obligations in the east of the country? Will the daughters be able to find happiness in the desolate landscapes and deadly mines of their home?

The End of the World is set amidst just such a backdrop. Here is the world of Regency England where war is raging at sea and on the Continent. The Tadcasters and Merwyns are not the Capulets and Montagues. At least not so you would notice. But appearances on the surface belie what occurs behind the closed door of a study or library and is not brought into the drawing room.

When all was as it should be, it never remains the same and with London looming in the futures of the girls, the cares of Cornwall should be placed behind them. But that is something that just can not be done.

Published: David Wilkin on
ISBN: 9781449585105
List price: $5.99
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I absolutely loved this book! This is a book that not everyone is going to love, but I enjoy the awkward. The ones that leave you with wonder, what happens next? Even telling the story is tough without giving away spoilers. The odd cast of characters, the way they spoke, and the odd parents of Valentine. It all settles comfortably inside my mind. While others thrash for understanding, I just want to relive it all over again.

Here I was supposed to just have a small break from a current read, and I got so sucked in I couldn't stop. Now, that's a book.:)more
This is an oddball, quirky kind of book about the serious topics of change, death, and letting things go. To be honest there were times when I sat looking at a line or phrase and wondered to myself if it was meant to be funny or if it was accidentally funny. There were also times when I found myself questioning the age and mental abilities of the main character. He comes across as a young child, but certainly his parents wouldn't be throwing out anyone who wasn't old enough to take care of themselves?For the most part, this is the kind of unique look on things that I really enjoy, so the story was just perfect for me. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of story that will appeal to anyone. You really are going to have to come in to the book with an open mind and a willingness to accept Alice in Wonderland type events in order to thoroughly enjoy it.more
I don't quite know what to write about this book - a very weird and surreal story to which there seems to be very little point or sense or interest, interspersed with very simplistic harangues about the evils of Western capitalist civilisation, and a dose of Tibetan Buddhism. Usually weird and surreal is fine by me but this made absolutely no sense whatever: if there was a meaning in passed me by totally.Valentine is a young man seemingly in his early twenties, who has never been outside his parents' house as a result of their idiosyncratic ideas of child-rearing, and those ideas seem very strange indeed. Apparently the sole focus of his mother's life since he was born, he is informed brusquely at the start of the book that he must leave home the same day to make way for the new baby that, despite her advanced age, she claims to be expecting. Discarded without a second thought by his parents and completely unprepared for life in the outside world, he is mugged within a mile or two of his home, and finds refuge at the End of the World Bed and Breakfast.Then if Valentine's home life was strange things start to get even stranger. Confronted by various characters such as the Bosnian woman whose stomach has been blown out by a neighbour with a shotgun or the strident money man who appears from the refrigerator and inveigles him into investing his last few pounds in a scheme to implant televisions into the foreheads of boring people, Valentine becomes more and more confused, as indeed does the reader. It soon becomes apparent that rather than escaping the mugger's bullet as he thought, he is actually dead and is in a halfway house between death and whatever comes next.By this time the book had lost any internal logic that it might have started with, and seemed to lurch from one type of book to another. The initial chapters with Valentine's family were (I think) meant to be funny, although I didn't find them so, and then there were several sections criticising the West for allowing the sufferings of the rest of the world, detailing quite graphically the ways in which a person could be killed in the various troublespots of the world, which most definitely weren't. Plus quite a lot of moralising from a vaguely Buddhist perspective. It could have worked if it was done more subtly but subtle is something that this book is definitely not - rather it feels more like someone is hitting you over the head with a sledge hammer to get their point across.So overall a hugely disappointing book. The basic idea could have been worked into something much more interesting and thought-provoking. I really enjoyed Kevin Brockmeier's A Brief History of the Dead which dealt with a similar idea of a halfway house between death and something else, but this was a total washout for me.more
Very entertainging short story about a young man thrust into the world by his parents only to end of getting mugged. He runs away from the criminal and ends up at a Bed and Breakfast named The End of the World and inside finds the most bizarre residents. Oddly enough his mother shows up and that is when he is told that he did not survive the mugging and that where he landed is a sort of purgatory until he can sort out her thoughts and then move on to where ever he is to go next. This story is very well written and laugh out loud funny and was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon on the sun.more
ANDREW BISS' "THE END OF THE WORLD" (REVIEW)Adapted from an original screenplay, this book is basically about life. Birth, death and what one young man sees as the 'end of the world.' The story largely takes place at a bed and breakfast by the same name. This novel has many interesting and colorful characters and is very well-written. I look forward to reading more from Andrew Biss.-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Clubmore
I could not get into this book. I see that others have loved it, but I could not make it past the first 10 pages. Will have to give it another try in the future.more
This is kind of a bizarre little novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's kind of hard to tell what's going on (though I had my suspicions), but it is not unpleasant. It's a fun quick read, and very well written.more
I received this book free from LibraryThing member giveaways. I enjoyed the book for many different reasons. It's so easy to question what happens after you die and I find it intriguing what others' opinions are on this topic. Biss' was a very different opinion and I liked its originality. I have to say, overall I think the book was a little too short. I would have preferred a little more detail about the time with his parents and why they acted the way they did towards him. At first, I didn't know if he was living in some sort of dystopian society or if his parents were just flat out weird. All we got were snippets of some of the "lessons" he was taught that didn't even remotely prepare him for being on his own in the outside world. I feel like this part of the novel wasn't very well developed. I did, however, like his time at the inn. I feel like in those pages Valentine was forced to wake up and grow up, and he developed a lot during his short time there. I love the fact that it brought questions into my head regarding the afterlife and what I think I'll make of it, and for that, many kudos, Mr. Biss. I think that this book was a good quick read about things maybe we don't talk about as much as we should and it gave me a lot to think about. I am also very thankful that my parents didn't kick me out on my booty before I was ready to see the world!! Great overall plot line and character. Rating: 4more
A wonderful book. This book was impossible to put down. Extremely entertaining with a few well places twists. Over all a well written book that is an easy but great read.more
This short novel, adapted from the play of the same name, is described by Mr. Biss as “A tale of life, death, and the space in-between.”The main character, Valentine, after being raised in a sedentary, secluded environment, is sent out by his parents to “fend for himself.” He almost immediately becomes a victim of a mugging at gun point. Valentine, rather lost and frightened, seeks shelter at a bed and breakfast named, The End of the World where he meets some very interesting, and I might add, unsettling, characters, ranging from the man in the fridge, to a cleric from within the kitchen sink.Inherently dark, and at times, intensely verbose, The End of the World exists in a place that we all tend to ponder, which is; what exactly comes next? While I certainly hope not to run into any of these characters, I did find redeeming qualities, as well as lessons, from them all. The references to appliances left me pondering the symbolism behind them, and then again, pondering if I was over thinking them. Overall, this novel left me with more questions than answers. Occasionally hard to follow, the last few paragraphs redeemed the storyline and left me feeling as if it all made sense after all. And that perhaps, nothing is as simple as it seems. (Review by Charlie - A member of the Literary R&R review team)more
Read all 10 reviews

Reviews

I absolutely loved this book! This is a book that not everyone is going to love, but I enjoy the awkward. The ones that leave you with wonder, what happens next? Even telling the story is tough without giving away spoilers. The odd cast of characters, the way they spoke, and the odd parents of Valentine. It all settles comfortably inside my mind. While others thrash for understanding, I just want to relive it all over again.

Here I was supposed to just have a small break from a current read, and I got so sucked in I couldn't stop. Now, that's a book.:)more
This is an oddball, quirky kind of book about the serious topics of change, death, and letting things go. To be honest there were times when I sat looking at a line or phrase and wondered to myself if it was meant to be funny or if it was accidentally funny. There were also times when I found myself questioning the age and mental abilities of the main character. He comes across as a young child, but certainly his parents wouldn't be throwing out anyone who wasn't old enough to take care of themselves?For the most part, this is the kind of unique look on things that I really enjoy, so the story was just perfect for me. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of story that will appeal to anyone. You really are going to have to come in to the book with an open mind and a willingness to accept Alice in Wonderland type events in order to thoroughly enjoy it.more
I don't quite know what to write about this book - a very weird and surreal story to which there seems to be very little point or sense or interest, interspersed with very simplistic harangues about the evils of Western capitalist civilisation, and a dose of Tibetan Buddhism. Usually weird and surreal is fine by me but this made absolutely no sense whatever: if there was a meaning in passed me by totally.Valentine is a young man seemingly in his early twenties, who has never been outside his parents' house as a result of their idiosyncratic ideas of child-rearing, and those ideas seem very strange indeed. Apparently the sole focus of his mother's life since he was born, he is informed brusquely at the start of the book that he must leave home the same day to make way for the new baby that, despite her advanced age, she claims to be expecting. Discarded without a second thought by his parents and completely unprepared for life in the outside world, he is mugged within a mile or two of his home, and finds refuge at the End of the World Bed and Breakfast.Then if Valentine's home life was strange things start to get even stranger. Confronted by various characters such as the Bosnian woman whose stomach has been blown out by a neighbour with a shotgun or the strident money man who appears from the refrigerator and inveigles him into investing his last few pounds in a scheme to implant televisions into the foreheads of boring people, Valentine becomes more and more confused, as indeed does the reader. It soon becomes apparent that rather than escaping the mugger's bullet as he thought, he is actually dead and is in a halfway house between death and whatever comes next.By this time the book had lost any internal logic that it might have started with, and seemed to lurch from one type of book to another. The initial chapters with Valentine's family were (I think) meant to be funny, although I didn't find them so, and then there were several sections criticising the West for allowing the sufferings of the rest of the world, detailing quite graphically the ways in which a person could be killed in the various troublespots of the world, which most definitely weren't. Plus quite a lot of moralising from a vaguely Buddhist perspective. It could have worked if it was done more subtly but subtle is something that this book is definitely not - rather it feels more like someone is hitting you over the head with a sledge hammer to get their point across.So overall a hugely disappointing book. The basic idea could have been worked into something much more interesting and thought-provoking. I really enjoyed Kevin Brockmeier's A Brief History of the Dead which dealt with a similar idea of a halfway house between death and something else, but this was a total washout for me.more
Very entertainging short story about a young man thrust into the world by his parents only to end of getting mugged. He runs away from the criminal and ends up at a Bed and Breakfast named The End of the World and inside finds the most bizarre residents. Oddly enough his mother shows up and that is when he is told that he did not survive the mugging and that where he landed is a sort of purgatory until he can sort out her thoughts and then move on to where ever he is to go next. This story is very well written and laugh out loud funny and was a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon on the sun.more
ANDREW BISS' "THE END OF THE WORLD" (REVIEW)Adapted from an original screenplay, this book is basically about life. Birth, death and what one young man sees as the 'end of the world.' The story largely takes place at a bed and breakfast by the same name. This novel has many interesting and colorful characters and is very well-written. I look forward to reading more from Andrew Biss.-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Clubmore
I could not get into this book. I see that others have loved it, but I could not make it past the first 10 pages. Will have to give it another try in the future.more
This is kind of a bizarre little novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's kind of hard to tell what's going on (though I had my suspicions), but it is not unpleasant. It's a fun quick read, and very well written.more
I received this book free from LibraryThing member giveaways. I enjoyed the book for many different reasons. It's so easy to question what happens after you die and I find it intriguing what others' opinions are on this topic. Biss' was a very different opinion and I liked its originality. I have to say, overall I think the book was a little too short. I would have preferred a little more detail about the time with his parents and why they acted the way they did towards him. At first, I didn't know if he was living in some sort of dystopian society or if his parents were just flat out weird. All we got were snippets of some of the "lessons" he was taught that didn't even remotely prepare him for being on his own in the outside world. I feel like this part of the novel wasn't very well developed. I did, however, like his time at the inn. I feel like in those pages Valentine was forced to wake up and grow up, and he developed a lot during his short time there. I love the fact that it brought questions into my head regarding the afterlife and what I think I'll make of it, and for that, many kudos, Mr. Biss. I think that this book was a good quick read about things maybe we don't talk about as much as we should and it gave me a lot to think about. I am also very thankful that my parents didn't kick me out on my booty before I was ready to see the world!! Great overall plot line and character. Rating: 4more
A wonderful book. This book was impossible to put down. Extremely entertaining with a few well places twists. Over all a well written book that is an easy but great read.more
This short novel, adapted from the play of the same name, is described by Mr. Biss as “A tale of life, death, and the space in-between.”The main character, Valentine, after being raised in a sedentary, secluded environment, is sent out by his parents to “fend for himself.” He almost immediately becomes a victim of a mugging at gun point. Valentine, rather lost and frightened, seeks shelter at a bed and breakfast named, The End of the World where he meets some very interesting, and I might add, unsettling, characters, ranging from the man in the fridge, to a cleric from within the kitchen sink.Inherently dark, and at times, intensely verbose, The End of the World exists in a place that we all tend to ponder, which is; what exactly comes next? While I certainly hope not to run into any of these characters, I did find redeeming qualities, as well as lessons, from them all. The references to appliances left me pondering the symbolism behind them, and then again, pondering if I was over thinking them. Overall, this novel left me with more questions than answers. Occasionally hard to follow, the last few paragraphs redeemed the storyline and left me feeling as if it all made sense after all. And that perhaps, nothing is as simple as it seems. (Review by Charlie - A member of the Literary R&R review team)more
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