The Stranding

The Stranding

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Hardback Published on: 24/06/2021
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Stranding
Everything I love in a book…
My perfect book. Life, love and the teeny, tiny fact that the world has been completely annihilated. What will protagonist Ruth create from the literal ash... READ MORE
Emily Fordham
The Stranding
Devastatingly original
A stunning story of survival at the end of the world. Told from two separate points in the same timeline, from the same perspective. It was fascinating to ... READ MORE
Chrys - Plymouth
The Stranding
An unforgettable story of love and hope at the end of the world
Ruth is at a loose end. Riddled with nagging doubts about her life choices and eager to bury her head in the sand as news reports become ever more troublin... READ MORE
Ollie, Senior Bookseller
The Stranding
Whaley good book!
An imaginative tale, featuring the past and future of Ruth, a character who struggles to find her own identity in a controlling relationship, and has strug... READ MORE
Ben Richardson
The Stranding
Devastating desolation
Another fantastic debut which will resonate even more after the events of 2020. Ruth leaves her messy life in London to travel across the globe to pursue h... READ MORE
Huw  Chapman
The Stranding
A wonderful, addictive read!
If you look first at how much you enjoy reading a book, this one for me was a full 100%. I could not put it down as the cliche goes. Was totally hooked fro... READ MORE
Patti Ho
The Stranding
Gripping, original, wonderful!
If you look first at how much you enjoy reading a book, this one for me was a full 100%. I could not put it down as the cliche goes. Was totally hooked fro... READ MORE
Patti Ho


Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2021

Her world fell to pieces. From the bones she built a new life.

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.

  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • ISBN: 9781529340662
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Weight: 460g
  • Dimensions: 218 x 140 x 38 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Stranding
Visceral, beautiful, essential
What an incredible story. I don't want to give too much away but it's such a visceral exploration of female desire and love and survival. The story takes p... READ MORE
Nicola skinner
The Stranding
This book blew me away
I loved this book and read it in one lockdown flavoured sitting. It cleverly interweaves two parallel stories and is quite unlike anything I have read befo... READ MORE
The Stranding
Brimming with Hope and Life
This book is one of the many lights on the horizon of 2021. Sawyer's lovely debut is one of those immersive reads that you can easily lose a whole afterno... READ MORE
Jo at Greenwich
The Stranding
Brimming with Hope and Life
This gorgeous debut novel is one of the many flickers of optimism on the 2021 landscape. It's a fully crafted story that leaves you with no choice but to s... READ MORE
Jo at Greenwich
The Stranding
Hope, through the bones of a whale
Oh, how I completely adored this beautifully crafted debut novel by Kate Sawyer. The book is set the end of the world but it's a compellingly hopeful book,... READ MORE
Alice Ash
The Stranding
Amazing, astounding, not like anything I have ever read before!
This book blew me away. It is rare to find a book that surprises me to the extent that I was surprised by The Stranding. The book is about Ruth, a typical... READ MORE
Luci Martin St Valery
The Stranding
I read this phenomenal book in one long sitting - it was that good! Her characters are so well written, masterful! Sawyer has crafted such an amazing nove... READ MORE
Owen Hollifield
The Stranding
Simply unlike anything else I’ve read - in the best way!
A book to devour in a single sitting, I was alternately enthralled by Ruth’s determination to survive and even thrive in the strange new world she finds he... READ MORE
Small Adventurist
The Stranding
A powerful and moving tale of hope and wonder!
Wow! I loved this book so much and was drawn in completely from the beginning. This book is epic in every sense of the word. There are two threads to this... READ MORE
Kate Galley
The Stranding
Relationships, the apocalypse and the body of a whale
The Stranding by Kate Sawyer is easily one of my favourite books so far this year. ⁠ Told in two timelines of Before and After, The Stranding follows Ruth ... READ MORE
Lizzie | @littlehux
The Stranding
A magnificent debut
"A rush of air, a groan so forlorn it hurts her heart. A noise that cannot be unheard. A white frame above her, a spine, the ribs splayed wide, the jaws ... READ MORE
Emma Alvey
The Stranding
Ruth lives in the heart of the city. Working, drinking, falling in love: the rhythm of her vivid and complicated life there is set against a background hum... READ MORE
The Stranding
A story of survival and hope
‘Her world fell to pieces - From the bones she built up a new life’ The Stranding has two timelines: Before and After. Before – Ruth moves from relations... READ MORE
Helena at Rustington
The Stranding
Beautiful story
Well this book was nothing like I expected . One half is a contemporary story about a modern woman and her relationships and the other half is dystopian! ... READ MORE
Jennifer Peffer
The Stranding
Post-apocalyptic, but with none of the horror movie cliches
Thanks to the author, publishers Coronet Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in eARC for review. This a voluntary and honest review. Ruth... READ MORE
Lisey P
The Stranding
Will linger for a long time
Brutal and compassionate in equal measure, "The Stranding" is one of those books that makes you gasp and gets your pulse racing. At first, I wasn't quite s... READ MORE
Dawn Lewis
The Stranding
Finished it a couple of months ago - still thinking about it
Wow! What a fantastic book. Such wonderful writing and a compelling tale of Ruth and Nik and the end of the world. Reminiscent in places of the SF Masterwo... READ MORE
Sharyn Farnaby
The Stranding
Excellent Read
My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC. Oh My...what a splendid read this book is. It's beautifully written with strong main... READ MORE
The Stranding
Beautiful and thought provoking - what matters most when life is stripped to its essentials?
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Staughton for ARC. This is a really assured debut and I look forward to reading more from this author. The plot syn... READ MORE
Pauline McGough
The Stranding
A definite book of the year for this amazing story
I am absolutely haunted by this book. Set across two timelines of one main character told concurrently, I spent all,the time reading one version/ timeline... READ MORE
wendy flood
The Stranding
Dream like.
An outstanding debut novel. Not like any other dystopian novel I have read. The Stranding is dreamlike and pulls the reader in. Thanks to NetGalley and the... READ MORE
The Stranding
Perhaps the most beautifully written post-apocalyptic book you could read,
I was totally totally absorbed by "The Stranding" by Kate Sawyer. The premise does sound strange but it is such a beautifully written book. Set in modern... READ MORE
Mel Pretorius
The Stranding
Beautiful debut
I read this book after reading a blurb somewhere on book Twitter. I was immediately grabbed by the premise of the main character essentially entering the b... READ MORE
Ruth Jacks
The Stranding
Interesting read
This was an interesting book to read. Ruth’s story is told then and now in alternate chapters. She has made some bad life choices mainly in men and her rel... READ MORE
Gee Wood
The Stranding
Dystopian novel that’s touching and devastating
This novel spans the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of protagonist Ruth’s life. The before is set in the present and charts Ruth’s burgeoning new relationship with t... READ MORE
The Stranding
A gripping time shift tale of survival and relationships
A time shift tale set Before and After some kind of apocalypse. A gripping tale of survival and relationships when facing the end of humanity. . Engaging w... READ MORE
The Stranding
An outstanding, ultimately uplifting read.
I won’t deny that there’s a devastating event that occurs right at the heart of this book. It’s tied up with the whale in an unusual way and sets the tone ... READ MORE
Sarah Higbee
The Stranding
A story of love and survival, set in both the present and a dystopian future.
Kate Sawyer's 'The Stranding' is a story of love and survival, set in both the present and a dystopian future. Ruth is a primary school teacher. She mov... READ MORE
Clare Read
The Stranding
A very timely novel but also one with universal themes
This is a very timely novel but also one with universal themes. The whole world is currently reassessing what is important in life as a result of the pande... READ MORE
Valerie Sawyer
The Stranding
Compelling, moving, brilliant
Loved the dual narrative. Love the terribly normal life existing next to the end of the world. Adored the depictions of romantic love and sibling love. It ... READ MORE
EJ Taylor
The Stranding
Stunning debut novel
The Stranding is a stunning debut novel from Kate Sawyer. It’s an emotional, engrossing read, beautifully written and filled with vivid description and be... READ MORE
Deborah Small
The Stranding
The Stranding is so so beautiful. Captivating and elegiac, it was an absolute pleasure to read. Ruth has been obsessed with whales since she was a child. ... READ MORE
Louise Barber
The Stranding
Captivating, inspiring, connected
A beautiful journey through our current human experience, thought provoking. Loved the double time line plot device. Life affirming!
Anna Crompton
The Stranding
Amazing debut novel!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It is set to be published in June 202... READ MORE
The Magpie Reader
The Stranding
A Gem of a book
The book begins in the After and we alternate between Before and After Ruth. We know a devastating incident has occurred but we don't know what exactly it ... READ MORE
Rachel Mcnally
The Stranding
One of my favourite books this year!
I have serious feelings about this book, and I’ll start by saying that I would give this ALL the stars if I could. Ruth tries to ignore the bad news goin... READ MORE
Clare R
The Stranding
Fascinating and compelling story
A young women decides to change her life and travel a bit to see the world. Unfortunately her timing isn't great and when she arrives in New Zealand presum... READ MORE
Patricia Moren
The Stranding
My book of the year
A book of profound humanity about hope and resilience and the persistence of life after the end. I inhaled it in one sitting and it has burrowed into my he... READ MORE
Sybil Disobedience
The Stranding
Loved this book so much!
Well this book was nothing like I expected . One half is a contemporary story about a modern woman and her relationships and the other half is dystopian! ... READ MORE
Jennifer Peffer
The Stranding
Scary, yet optimistic tale!
*3.5 stars * The demise of a whale in the opening chapter of The Stranding, was really sad, but this beautiful creature is about to become Ruth, (and rece... READ MORE
Maureen Ellis
The Stranding
An arresting, life-affirming story of life after the end of the world
I loved the opening premise of surviving the apocalypse by hiding inside a stranded whale, and the rest of the novel was just as powerful. An arresting, li... READ MORE
The Stranding
Great book that has stayed with me
This was a fantastic read and I have found it often occupies my thoughts. It is beautifully written, as if the author has genuinely thought about every wo... READ MORE
Kristy Angell