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Summary

Her world fell to pieces.

From the bones she built a new life.

A heartbreaking novel of love, loss and hope about a woman who hides from the end of the world in the belly of a whale.

Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life is set against a background hum of darkening news reports from which she deliberately turns away.

When a new romance becomes claustrophobic, Ruth chooses to leave behind the failing relationship, but also her beloved friends and family, and travels to the other side of the world in pursuit of her dream life working with whales in New Zealand.

But when Ruth arrives, the news cycle she has been ignoring for so long is now the new reality. Far from home and with no real hope of survival, she finds herself climbing into the mouth of a beached whale alongside a stranger. When she emerges, it is to a landscape that bears no relation to the world they knew before.

When all has been razed to the ground, what does it mean to build a life? 

The Stranding is a story about the hope that can remain even when the world is changed beyond recognition.

©2021 Kate Sawyer (P)2021 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What listeners say about The Stranding

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story!

I really enjoyed this book. I felt it was written and read beautifully. Such a great story and refreshing to read something a bit different. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating, beautiful, funny, inspiring!

Simply wonderful writing. Loved the double time lines and perspective of time. Highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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stunning, gorgeous story

I love everything about this book. The 2 timeliness knit beautifully, and the characters are rich in detail and believable.
I'm not going to give away any plot details but urge everyone to read this.

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Listened over two days

Loved this story
So different and beautifully written; covering all our different relationships, as well as posing the question, ‘Could we all benefit from living a simpler life?’

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Somewhat better than many apocalypse tales

An interesting idea both in terms of a different take on the theme of world apocalypse and the way in which the story unfolds. The book’s narrator is Ruth and she describes in simple (and sometimes profound detail) how she came to be on a beach in New Zealand with Nick when a nuclear war devastated the northern hemisphere. Not only do the couple use a novel way of avoiding the worst effects of the nuclear fall out but together they pool their skills and learn how to survive and then teach 2 daughters to survive.Each of the chapters describing their survival are bookended by a chapter describing the narrator’s life in London and how she eventually came to be on a beach in the North Island. I must admit to staying the course of the book because of being intrigued by apocalypse stories..although there is only so much to be told about getting back to basics. Making do with almost 100% of what we take for granted, and a life close to that of subsistence farmers and fishers where the whole of life is consumed with meeting essential needs is far from great literature and Kate Sawyer probably chose well to keep her account and the narrator’s reflections unembellished. Nevertheless the journeys in the book bind well together. We empathise with a young woman from a secure loving family going through ultimately unhappy relationships with boyfriends but satisfying and joyful female friendships and the decision to follow her childhood interests in whales and their conservation and go on that final 4 hour walk with her to the beach. Ruth becomes increasingly aware of the tragedy that is befalling all those she loves and her response is powerfully visceral. The redemptive ending feels apt. At times the writing is clunky and irritating, the narrative predictable and the characters 2 dimensional but maybe that’s the nature of surviving an apocalypse with much of what you know blown away.

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Brilliant!

A remarkable novel. The range of issues touched upon is quite astounding. The lens moves seamlessly from interpersonal relationships, consent and malignant control in relationships to current environmental problems and an apocalyptic view of the future that awaits humanity.
The story skips back and forward in time, but at no point is it disorientating. This, for me, to is testament to the brilliance of the author in weaving these threads to form a beautiful yarn.

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The emperor's new clothes

After reading enthusiastic reviews of a brilliant new novel my expectations were high. But this is a poorly executed piece of writing and certainly not the compelling read promised. The characters lack depth, the story lacks a compelling drive and the whole thing is blighted by inconsistencies in the post apocalypse world that are irrational but convenient to the writer. I found the protagonist unconvincing, the story so so and the inconsostencies incredibly annoying. I can only conclude the success of this book is down to a very effective PR campaign that has really pushed hard on paid or incentivised reviews. I'd honestly give this a miss and go for something written by a good or great writer of dystopian worlds with fabulous female characters, Murakami iq84 or Atwood, Oryx and Craik perhaps, they are utterly brilliant, this one utterly terrible.

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A Beautiful Tale

Well written and different. I did not want it to end .

A must read.

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Beautifully written moving first novel.

Totally gripped, insightful story I hope Kate writes more can't wait for her next novel