Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter
Add The World Before Us to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

The World Before Us

Best Seller
The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter
Mar 31, 2015 | ISBN 9780553418538

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Mar 31, 2015 | ISBN 9780553418538

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from The World Before Us

Product Details


An NPR Best Book of the Year Selection

“A complex, subtle, and utterly haunting meditation on memory, history, and mortality. This book is magnificent.”—Emily St. John Mandel, author of National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Bestseller Station Eleven

“Daring and mesmerizing. A haunting, irresistible story and an urgent mystery about what it means to pass through this life.  Hunter has a poet’s eye and ear, and she goes after the elusive – the waywardness of memory, the grief of random loss, the yearning of existence – in an unfolding drama that is absorbing, luminous and powerfully human.”—Alison MacLeod, Man Booker Prize-nominated author of Unexploded

“Haunting…a compelling exploration of how memory shapes and is shaped by individuals and society.” —Kirkus

“Haunting…an emotionally and intellectually satisfying journey in the manner of A.S. Byatt’s Possession…[The World Before Us] movingly dramatizes how unknowable the past can be.” – Publishers Weekly 

The World Before Us is a powerful balancing act…It is a novel of considerable beauty, threaded with violence and pain, a melancholic book with moments of grace and joy. It is a thought-provoking novel, haunting and haunted, rooted in the power of history and of the individuals within it, and outside it. Reminiscent of A.S. Byatt’s Possession, it is the sort of novel which forces you to look at the world – the people around you, the objects they hold dear – in a different light.”—Globe and Mail

“An ambitious new novel about the vitality of objects and history’s knack for bleeding into the present. Intricate in both expression and construction, and dense in thematic implication, The World Before Us cleverly innovates while tipping a nod to classic Gothic tropes: dynastic rivalries, crumbling country houses, madhouses and vanished girls. Hunter is less tempted by spooky thrills than the chance to explore ways in which human affection resonates across time.”—National Post

“A haunting tale of loss and reconciliation…The novel’s three timelines are deftly woven together, illustrating the ways life takes on meaning even through objects and places. Hunter refers to history as ‘a shifting trickster’ and uses that premise to hook readers, as they…embark on a quest for meaning and truth in the face of tragedy.”— Chatelaine

“Intricately composed and gripping…With The World Before Us, [Hunter] has created her most ambitious and original work.”—Quill and Quire

“Once in a rare while a novel comes along to remind us of what great fiction can do: creating a world so sublimely felt that, for the hours we spend reading, we are lifted out of our own lives, and when we return we find ourselves immeasurably altered and enriched. The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter is such a novel. It is a brilliant work of humanity and imagination, artful and breathtakingly beautiful, and it will continue to haunt long after you have finished reading.” —Helen Humphreys, author of The Lost Garden and Coventry

“A richly layered narrative harmonizing the past and present, dissolving the boundaries of time frames and showing the possible conneciton between people and places and objects…The World Before Us is a well-constructed and thoughtful novel on serious subjects. The historical detail never overwhelms; instead it brings alive the past and shows the seamlessness of past and present, espeically the human need for contact, which transcends time and place.”—The Vancouver Sun

Praise for Aislinn Hunter’s Stay

Stay‘s rigorous examination of the relationship between colonialism, globalization, and identity places it in the company of Michael Ondaatje . . . Controlled, smart, and humane.”—Quill and Quire

“For all the complexity in Hunter’s rich book . . . there is also a minute attention to detail and an elegance in the natural dialogue. Hunter hangs ideas on you, ideas you want to stop and think about, in such a subtle, tender way.”—Michelle Berry, Globe and Mail

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates about Aislinn Hunter
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use and understand that Penguin Random House collects certain categories of personal information for the purposes listed in that policy, discloses, sells, or shares certain personal information and retains personal information in accordance with the policy. You can opt-out of the sale or sharing of personal information anytime.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top