The End of the Day just didn’t work for me. I knew almost from the beginning that it was a mistake buying it as an audiobook, but persevered in the hope that things would improve. They didn’t.
I have every faith that read in physical form, it would be a much different experience. But The End of the Day is so fragmented – frequent chapters are made up of snatches from dozens of conversations – that it’s hard to concentrate on without having a copy in front of you. This inevitably lead to frequent frustration, and goodness help you picking the thread back up again should you drop it for twenty seconds.
I loved Claire North’s last novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. So much so, that quite often during The End of the Day I wished I was listening to Harry again instead. It’s not that End doesn’t have an equally cool premise – here we follow Charlie, a bog-standard Brummie who happens to pick up work as the Harbinger of Death. As you do. Death’s office is situated in Milton Keynes for goodness sake, and if that doesn’t sound as excellent a premise for a novel as you’ve ever heard then okay, but I don’t believe you.
Peter Kenny’s narration probably contributed towards my malaise – he has a fairly monotonous tone, and so rarely bothered to give Charlie a Birmingham accent that on the occasions he remembered, it was entirely jarring. It got to the point that – although I always start my mornings with either an audiobook or music while I get ready – I actively started listening to news podcasts instead of playing this. I had to force myself to potter through the last two hours just so it wasn’t lingering around unfinished anymore.
As scathing as this review must sound, I’m sure there will be people who love this book – people it speaks to, people it moves. Sadly, the only thing it moved me to was the off button.
[Read from 12-30 April 2017]