Sing Along to Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Posted March 18, 2015 by LeahAdmin in Reviews / 16 Comments

Book Review: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Published by Tin House Books on March 17, 2015
Pages: 382
Genres: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Buy on The Book Depository

When Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old, her survivalist father, James, takes her from her London home to a dilapidated cabin in the woods. One night, after a storm rocks their valley, he tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed and that they are the only two humans left. For the next nine years, they eke out a meager existence, hauling water from the river, growing vegetables, and trapping small game. Peggy spends her days checking her traps and practicing La Campanella on the silent piano carefully built by her father until a shocking discovery leads her back to the civilization she thought had been annihilated.

When the novel opens, 17-year old Peggy is adjusting to life at home with her mother and the younger brother she didn’t know she had. Fuller expertly weaves together two narrative threads as teenage Peggy struggles with her new life and tells the story of her years in the wilderness. Piece by intricate piece, the reader learns the truth behind the events that led to James and Peggy’s flight from London and, finally, how Peggy found the courage to leave the cabin.

This book, you guys. It pulled me in, refused to let me go, and smashed me on the rocks. When I finished reading, I wasn’t sure for a moment whether I loved or hated it. (Spoiler: I decided I loved it.) This might be an odd comparison, but it reminded me of how I reacted to the ending of Gone Girl. It felt like a punch in the gut, but it was also kind of genius.

Our Endless Numbered Days is an incredible read, and I think readers are going to have strong reactions to it. It would make an excellent book club pick. It’s compelling, and it portrays relationships — husband/wife, mother/daughter, father/daughter — in really nuanced ways, with secrets hiding just beneath the surface. I think what impressed me the most was Fuller’s ability to pull strings so masterfully that you don’t even know she’s doing it.

Of course, there was another thing that I loved about this book. The title is inspired by the Iron & Wine album of the same name! Fuller says that she listened to a lot of Sam Beam while writing this book, and I think the backwoodsy lilt shows through in her writing. Iron & Wine is one of my favorite bands, and I decided to listen to their music while I read; it was a great fit! I couldn’t help making a Spotify playlist of songs that go well with the book, including La Campanella. Check it out! Because you need to be listening to Such Great Heights when you read the line about how the trees “look perfect from far away.”

Bottom line: Read Clair Fuller, listen to Iron & Wine. You will thank me.

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through the link above, I will make a tiny commission.

  • Amy Sachs

    Ugh I love this song so much, always. I need to read this for the comparison alone…and all the other reasons!

  • You are exploding with creativity on this blog! I saw this band’s name when I googled Our Endless Numbered Days but I never pursued the link. This song has the feel of Rueben to me. And wandering in the woods.

    I’m with you on the book- almost impossible to categorize it but wow, does it hit hard. I thought I knew what was going on and I still did not get it right.

  • Punch in the gut is exactly how I felt too! I couldn’t relax or fall asleep after I finished it. YESSS to Iron and Wine!! I didn’t learn about the connection until after and only listened to La Campanella. Great review!!

    • I didn’t actually listen to La Campanella until I read your review! I’m so glad I finally did, though.

  • I love Iron & Wine but I did not realize that the song inspired the book! Makes me want to read it even more. Ugh! Backlogs. Boo.

  • Kerry M

    I HAVE to catch up on my deadlines so I can get to this. I’ll admit I skimmed much of your review because I want to go into it somewhat blind, but I’ll be taking your recommendation to read with Iron & Wine on in the background. I love that band so much, so it’s not like it takes much urging to get me to turn it on, anyway…

  • I’ve added this one to my “must read before end of year” TBR list! And – I’m now going to stop reading reviews since there’s something big going on here!

  • Lindsey Stefan

    So cool! I love the interaction between music and story.

  • I had mixed feelings about this book too after reading it, but I think that was because I wished the ending provided more details. Overall, I really liked the story and had no idea the title was inspired by Iron & Wine.

    • I don’t think my feelings were really all that mixed, after the initial shock; it just felt like being hit over the head with a brick! Glad you mostly enjoyed it!

  • I’m excited to get to this one and see what I think! Sounds like it will be surprising, which could definitely be fun 🙂

  • That’s incredible! I had no idea about the Iron & Wine album. That’s brilliant. I loved this book so much! Even though my boyfriend kind of accidentally guessed the ending for me before I got there… It was still good even though I knew what was coming!

    • I actually want to read it again, knowing the ending. I want to see if there are more hints that I missed!