On Our Shelves Now
From internationally bestselling author Benedict Wells, a sweeping novel of love and loss, and of the lives we never get to live
“[D]azzling storytelling...The End of Loneliness is both affecting and accomplished -- and eternal.”—John Irving
Jules Moreau’s childhood is shattered after the sudden death of his parents. Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings, Marty and Liz, are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories – until he meets Alva, a kindred soul caught in her own grief. Fifteen years pass and the siblings remain strangers to one another, bound by tragedy and struggling to recover the family they once were. Jules, still adrift, is anchored only by his desires to be a writer and to reunite with Alva, who turned her back on their friendship on the precipice of it becoming more. But, just as it seems they can make amends for time wasted, invisible forces – whether fate or chance – intervene.
A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings, alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go. With inimitable compassion and luminous, affecting prose, Benedict Wells contends with what it means to find a way through life, while never giving up hope you will find someone to go with you.
About the Author
Benedict Wells was born in 1984 in Munich. At the age of six, he started his journey through three Bavarian boarding schools. Upon graduating, he moved to Berlin, where he dedicated his time to writing. In 2016 he won the European Prize for Literature for his third novel, The End of Loneliness, which remained on the German bestseller list for over a year. After years of living in Barcelona, Wells has recently returned to Berlin.
“A life-affirming work.”—Vogue
“This beautiful book—compact yet flowing, lovingly translated by Charlotte Collins, understated yet passionate—brings German author Benedict Wells, only 35, front and center among world writers. It’s both a family story and the tale of a man in search of the self he is afraid to own. When you reach the last words and set the book reluctantly down (you don’t want to leave the world it has woven), you have suffered and lost again and again, and you are smiling. In the most adult, complex, worldly sense, you’re experiencing that rarest of feats, a happy ending.”—Philadelphia Inquirer
“Superbly crafted. . . . The End of Loneliness is a character-driven exploration of love, loss and fate in an indifferent universe.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“Like John Boyne, Wally Lamb or John Irving, Benedict Wells has conjured a fictional world –at once epic and intimate, full of uncanny occurrences, inescapable fates, love lost and found and lost again— that quickly becomes more vivid to the reader than the real world that exists beyond its covers. Even a great book might not actually put an end to loneliness, but I can’t imagine a better salve for solitude than a novel like this, a book with the empathy, bravery, and vision to venture straight into the turbulent, vivid, interior landscapes of memory in order to reveal to us our own innermost selves.”—Stefan Merrill Block, author of Oliver Loving and The Story of Forgetting
“Touching and timeless, [The End of Loneliness] is expertly and evocatively rendered, in prose both beautiful and sparse enough to cut clearly to the question at the novel’s heart: how one copes with loss that isn’t—or doesn’t have to be—permanent.”—Publishers Weekly
“A love story and a life story, this rich and well-translated domestic drama acknowledges that some bonds are truly immutable in the face of, or perhaps because of, tragedy and that our memories and the stories we make of them, though they may change, are as real as anything.”—Booklist, starred review
“A bittersweet, intricately plotted family saga. . . . A tender, affecting novel, one that packs a lot into a slender frame.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A tear-jerker . . . it is impossible to look away from it, the unravelling, reforming lives of its characters.”—The Guardian
“The trajectory of a long life, from childhood, through the adult disappointments, through parenthood: this is what novels do best. Our fate is everything we become; yet what happens to Jules and Alva, in the hands of Benedict Wells, is dazzling storytelling... The End of Loneliness is both affecting and accomplished — and eternal.”—John Irving, author of The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, and Avenue of Mysteries
“Original and captivating, it's high time this German author had more work translated in to English...[The End of Loneliness]'s quiet charm in straightforward prose belies its sharp insight into the human condition.”—Stylist Magazine
“This novel has been rightfully described as something of a masterpiece. One thing is for sure — it is not easily forgotten. Heartfelt and enriching.”—Sunday Post
“With a surprising maturity . . . Benedict Wells has found a voice to describe, neither cruelly nor over-sensitively, human fragility, failure and ageing.”—Le Monde
“The writing is as luminous as the subject is dark.”—Elle, Paris
“Sophisticated . . . [Jules'] projection into kinder realities offers the novel's most literary and most immediate, emotive pleasures.”—The Irish Times
“A superbly insightful story.”—BookRiot