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The Great Unknowable End Hardcover – 19 Feb 2019
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"THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE END is unlike any book I've read. Take a small-town paranormal mystery, drop in a 70s commune, add a dash of haunting familial histories, and a hefty scoop of Science vs. Art, and voila: a book to delight the likes of Carl Sagan himself. Ormsbee's latest is a big-minded, full-hearted treat of a novel."--David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik
It's a rare author who can imagine a story like this. It's a rarer author with the ambition to try it. And it's the rarest of all who can execute it in such lyrical, haunting beauty. Kathryn Ormsbee is that author. Breathtakingly imaginative and ambitious; dazzlingly beautiful and profound. This story of love and fervor will grip you and won't let go. Not even after you've finished. A hauntingly beautiful and wildly imaginative story of faith, fervor, coming of age, and connection. Masterfully rendered and spellbinding."--Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King
"Fantastic premise meets perfect execution in this heartfelt and wholly original novel."--Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned
"A mesmerizing, trippy, and fantastic story about finding yourself in the most extraordinary circumstances in the most ordinary of places. Ormsbee has written a coming-of-age novel like no other."--Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces
"Realism with a hint of science fiction will inspire readers to question their own trajectories."--Kirkus Reviews "November 21, 2018 "
"Told in alternating perspectives by Stella and Galliard, Ormsbee (Tash Hearts Tolstoy) skillfully parallels nature's disturbances with her characters' internal turmoil to create a suspenseful story about self-discovery and following one's dreams amid a life's complications"--Publisher's Weekly "December 3, 2018 "
About the Author
Kathryn Ormsbee grew up with a secret garden in her backyard and a spaceship in her basement. She is the author of The Water and the Wild and the YA novels Lucky Few and Tash Hearts Tolstoy. She's lived in lots of fascinating cities, from Birmingham to London to Seville, but she currently lives in Austin, Texas.
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The story switches point of view between Galliard, who was the first child born in the commune and has lived there his entire life, and Stella, whose brother ran off to join the commune two years prior.
Galliard has parents in the commune, but they aren't called that. Kids are basically raised by the entire commune and belong to everyone.
Their purpose was basically to live in peace, as they weren't a religious community. In fact, Galliard prays to rock legends who are no longer living. He also cusses like a sailor, which I thought was an interesting aspect as I guess I always see communes like that not swearing? Maybe that's just my weird thoughts on it haha.
Stella lives with her dad and little sister Jill. Her mother died years ago and her older brother has run off to the commune.
This story totally takes on a creepy vibe as it goes on. It starts with bizarre weather that no other surrounding towns or cities have. There's things like pink lightning and then the rain is blood red, etc. It creeped me out and I loved it.
Not only that, but the town (and Stella's closet) have eerily lit numbers doing a countdown. To what? No one knows.
Stella and Galliard strike up a friendship that turns part romance, and between their budding friendship and the building anticipation with the countdown and weather, I was super excited to see what happened.
Unfortunately, the ending was anti-climactic for me. It just....fizzled. And that's the best way I can describe it. It was such a let down because I was totally hooked into this book until the end.
Even though the ending wasn't for me, I thought the book itself was written well. I really liked the characters and loved the overall vibe of the book.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The title of this book drew me in. When I read the synopsis I knew I would enjoy this book. And I did. I pretty much fell in love with this book within a few pages. I was intrigued immediately. Galliard, who is one of our POV's, is such a cool character. He struggles with Tourrettes syndrome, and it was so neat to be in his head and see how he thinks. I have a 7-year-old daughter who may have Tourrettes, it's still too early to tell, but this book has even helped me understand her tics a bit more.
Gilliard has grown up on Red sun, a commune, all his life. He doesn't know much of the outside world, only that it is horrible and he never wants to go. Once you hit a certain age in the commune, you can choose to either go or stay. Most people stay, and that is Gilliard's plan until events happen in his life where he's not so sure anymore. Our other POV is Stella. She has a younger sister named Jill, who she takes care of most the time. Her father works nights, so he isn't around a ton. Her mother committed suicide when she was younger and her brother has run away to Red Sun a few years ago. I loved Stella. She is a down to earth gal, but super smart. She is super into space and wants to be a space engineer. The only problem is, because all that has happened in her life, she feels like she has to take care of her sister instead of going to school.
The craziness starts happening in the town and nobody can explain it. Some of the things that happened really creeped me out. I kept trying to imagine what the world would I do if this stuff happened to me. I really liked the detail and creativeness in these weird occurrences. I read one review where they thought it should have been crazier, but I thought it was just the right amount.
One thing I loved about this book was all the music references. Galliard is super into music. He plays piano and guitar amazingly and can sing as well. The book is set in 1977 so it was fun to see all the musicians he was into. The other thing I really enjoyed about this book was Red Sun. I couldn't believe some of the stuff they thought to be the truth. It seemed so crazy, but then I had to remember that there are places like these that have the same insane beliefs. Some even worse.
I recommend this book to everyone. I couldn't put it down because I had to know what was going to happen next!